Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us

Understanding Hearing Loss

Graph showing normal and accelerated hearing loss.

As you age, some hearing loss is normal. But long-term exposure to loud noise can speed up the loss. You lose more than the ability to hear how loud a sound is. You also lose the ability to hear certain types of sounds. For example, you might not be able to hear some of the high-pitched sounds of a child's voice.

Normal loss

With aging, tiny hair cells in the inner ear undergo changes. Nerve cells, also part of the inner ear, can also be affected. This is called presbycusis. Most people don't notice normal hearing loss until their middle years. Others might not notice it until late in their lives. It's most often a slow and painless process.

Accelerated loss

Exposure to loud noise may cause brief hearing loss and ringing in your ears called tinnitus. If your exposure was short, you may recover. But long-term exposure day after day can affect your hearing for life.

Noise hurts more than your hearing

Did you know that loud noises can affect your whole body? Loud noises can:

  • Raise blood pressure

  • Disrupt sleep patterns

  • Cause muscle strain

  • Harm digestion

Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth Greenblatt, RN, M.Ed.
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Kacker, Ashutosh, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2017
© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by StayWell
About StayWell