Hearing loss is a major healthcare concern in America today. People regularly, but often unknowingly, expose themselves to excessive noise, making the need for hearing care providers a necessity. Jim Armstrong is the owner of a Miracle-Ear hearing center in Bakersfield, and he says that exposure to loud environments is a primary cause of hearing loss, followed by the aging process.
When it comes to noise exposure, Armstrong feels that work related noises and loud music are the two biggest areas where hearing loss can occur. In Bakersfield, there is a large oil industry and a strong manufacturing base, so he sees a lot of patients experiencing hearing loss as the result of being in those environments.
“A lot of trucking industry is in our area, and certainly over time the drivers can have a hearing loss just from the constant exposure to noise,” says Armstrong. He continues, “Once constant sound levels of 80 decibels or more are encountered, people really need to start wearing hearing protection and limit their exposure to those environments.”
Other causes of hearing loss can vary. While Armstrong feels that age and exposure to loud environments are very much the primary causes, genetics can play a role as well. “You can have genetic traits that influence hearing loss,” he says. Some people may have had severe ear infections or diseases that have caused the loss; an injury to the ear or physical damage can cause loss as well. In the case of physical injury, Armstrong will refer the patient to a physician, but some physicians can’t solve it, so hearing aids are still recommended in those situations. Additional health issues might also affect hearing, such as diabetes.
If you have encountered any of these situations and feel like you are experiencing hearing loss, it’s important to come to your Bakersfield hearing center for a free hearing test. Even if you have not been exposed to these situations, you might want to visit a hearing center, just to take some precautionary measures. “Some people are just kind of concerned with their hearing, maybe they have family members that have a hearing loss, so we’ll encourage them to come in every couple of years for a hearing test,” says Armstrong. “If they want to come in more frequently that’s fine, it’s a free test and we’re happy to do it for them.”