Acquired deafness, also known as acquired hearing loss, is a condition in which a person loses their ability to hear over time, often as a result of environmental or medical factors. Acquired deafness can occur at any age and can affect one or both ears.
There are many potential causes of acquired deafness, including exposure to loud noises, infections, head injuries, certain medications, and aging. The severity of the hearing loss can vary depending on the underlying cause and may be temporary or permanent.
Some common types of acquired hearing loss include:
- Noise-induced hearing loss: this occurs due to exposure to loud noises, such as from machinery, concerts, or firearms. The damage can be temporary or permanent and may affect both ears equally or one ear more than the other.
- Presbycusis: age-related hearing loss that occurs gradually over time as the hair cells in the inner ear begin to deteriorate. This can make it difficult to hear high-pitched sounds, understand speech, or differentiate between sounds.
- Ototoxicity: damage to the inner ear caused by certain medications or chemicals, such as chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, or solvents.
Treatment for acquired deafness depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Options may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices, or surgical interventions. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing hearing loss or changes in your ability to hear.