Hearing Loss and Central Auditory Processing

54 Prevention of Hearing Loss

Learning Objectives

Understand the best ways to prevent hearing loss.

Be able to discuss the possible treatments for children who get frequent ear infections.

Be able to describe what ototoxic means, and its relation to hearing loss.

The best way to prevent hearing loss is to take necessary precautions when one is exposed to loud sounds. These precautions include wearing ear plugs. Be nice to your future self and wear them at concerts and loud sporting events or when operating power tools. If you don’t like the muffled sound, buy some fancy ones that attenuate all frequencies equally. While we all lose hearing with age (98% of 80 year-olds have hearing loss), a lot of that is because of exposure to loud noises over the lifetime. Additionally, hearing loss can be due to simple illnesses, such as the flu. This means that getting a flu shot, as well as other vaccines, can be a preventative measure when it comes to hearing loss. Lastly, in today’s world, earbuds are used frequently. It is advised that a person uses caution when listening to music through earbuds, and limits the volume so as not to damage the ear.


The left panel shows a back kets concert and the right shows a construction worker.
Figure 6.6.1. Environmental factors that can lead to conductive hearing loss include regular exposure to loud music or construction equipment. (a) Rock musicians and (b) construction workers present risks for this type of hearing loss. (Provided by: OpenStax. License: CC BY 4.0.  (a): modification of work by Kenny Sun;  (b): modification of work by Nick Allen)


Ear infections can also lead to hearing loss. If this happens occasionally, it can be easily medicated. For children who get frequent ear infections, ventilation tubes can be implanted in the tympanic membrane. The tubes relieve pressure from infection to avoid larger tears in the membrane.

Some medicines are ototoxic, meaning they attack the inner ear and auditory nerves. The resulting hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. So be prudent when using Aspirin or other NSAIDs, and be careful with your antibiotics. Overuse or an overdose can result in these ototoxic hearing loss.


Cheryl Olman PSY 3031 Detailed Outline
Provided by: University of Minnesota
Download for free at http://vision.psych.umn.edu/users/caolman/courses/PSY3031/
License of original source: CC Attribution 4.0
Adapted by: Kori Skrypek and Emma Caswell

US Department of Health and Human Services
URL of source: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/ear-infections-children
License of original source:   public domain.


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Introduction to Sensation and Perception by Students of PSY 3031 and Edited by Dr. Cheryl Olman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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