There are many causes of hearing loss, including ageing, disease, drugs, ear infection, and of course, continued exposure to loud noise.

The main causes of age-related hearing loss are a reduction in levels of cells in the ear that act as receptors for sound, and also free-radical damage to the delicate tissues of the ear. It is crucial that people of all ages look after their hearing, as the type of damage that results in hearing loss is often irreversible.

Total hearing loss is not inevitable – there are simple steps that you can take to reduce its onset:

  • Try to limit exposure to loud noises. If the noise is unavoidable, earplugs can help lessen the impact. As loud noises do not provoke a pain-type warning in the ear, people often think that no damage is occurring.
  • Don’t listen to loud music through earphones. Many modern music players have ear-protecting volume reducers.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and general wellbeing can help. A healthy heart that supplies the ear with a plentiful blood supply can reduce damage to ear tissues.
  • Giving your ears a break every now and then by indulging a quiet activity can be beneficial. Hearing loss is related to the duration as well as the intensity of noise.
  • Avoid toxins, drugs and solvents, all of which can increase the susceptibility of the ear to hearing loss.

Recent studies have also shown that hearing loss can be prevented by daily supplements of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and magnesium. This is because they reduce the inner-ear damage caused by free-radicals that accumulate after noise trauma.

If you are suffering from hearing loss problems, it is important that you seek advice from a GP as soon as possible.