Do you often ask your friends or family to speak up or repeat themselves? Is it difficult for you to understand conversations in a crowd or in an area with background noise? Are you turning up the TV or radio louder than usual? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to get your hearing tested.

You might be thinking that you’re a little too young to suffer from hearing loss, but age is not the only factor to take into consideration. Hearing loss can be caused by many things, such as:

·     Prolonged exposure to loud noise.Exposure to loud noises can, over time, damage the cells of the inner ear. This is especially common in occupations where loud noise is a part of the every-day work environment, such as construction or factory work. Even recreational activities, such as listening to music at high volumes, can contribute to premature hearing loss.

·     Earwax buildup.Hearing issues caused by excessive amounts of earwax is fairly common. Earwax can block the ear canal and prevent the transmission of sound waves, causing noises to be muffled.

·     Ruptured eardrum.Ruptured eardrum, also known as tympanic membrane perforation, is a hole or tear in the tympanic membrane. This can be caused by ear infections, loud blasts of noise, and sudden changes in pressure. A ruptured eardrum can also be the result of poking your eardrum with an object, such as a cotton swab, while attempting to clean out earwax.

But don’t start panicking. Even if you are starting to suffer from hearing loss, most issues can be easily resolved by trained medical professionals. Receiving frequent hearing tests can provide early detection of hearing loss, and being aware that you’re losing hearing means you can take steps towards preventing future damage to your ears. 

Consulting a doctor is the most important step you can take in making sure your ears are working properly. Dr. Michael Latshaw is one of UAB Medical West’s newest Otolaryngology Specialists. With more than six years of diverse medical experience, Dr. Latshaw is the perfect fit for anyone’s concerns regarding conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. Whether your hearing issues are caused by age or by another reason, UAB Medical West can offer you the care that you need and deserve.