What is the most unusual way to lose your hearing?
Statistics have revealed that around 20 percent of all adults in the USA report some form of hearing loss. And as we age, it is found that 1 out of every 3 adults over the age of 65 reports partial or complete deafness. Fact is, there could be many causes that result in hearing loss, amongst which, deafness caused by loud sounds and age related deafness are the most common.
However, there are a few rather unusual diseases, both genetic and acquired, that could also result in deafness, some of which medical science is still trying to unravel.
Auto-Immune Inner Ear Disease
This is a rather rare disease, affecting only 1% of deaf medical patients. It results in hearing loss in both ears as well as dizziness and the patient often complains of a roaring, hissing or ringing sound in the ear. In patients who suffer from AIED, the auto-immune system begins to attack the auditory nerve in the inner ear. It does so by releasing powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals because it mistakes normal, healthy nerve tissue to be a deadly virus, and hence damages hearing. AIED came in to the spotlight recently when famed talk show host Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with it, and doctors realized that they did not know much about this deaf strange disease.
First diagnosed in 1952, the Goldenhar disease affects one side of the face more than the other and can result in facial disfigurement, along with hearing loss. Doctors are not exactly sure what the causes behind the disease are, but they believe certain kinds of chemical exposures could be the main culprit. This is because it was noticed that after the Gulf War, the incidents of babies born with the disease to war veterans was higher.
Another rare syndrome that causes hearing loss, Treacher Collins is apparent at the time of birth. This disease also results in facial disfigurement, which could be corrected by plastic surgery, but 50% of all patients diagnosed with the disease are deaf.
While the above mentioned are rare, unusual diseases that cause permanent deafness, there are an equal number of strange ways that result in partial hearing loss too. This is because; our ears and our sense of hearing are both sensitive to internal and external changes.
Sometimes, deafness is Conductive; where the 3 tiny bones within the middle ear fail to pass sound waves along to the inner ear, or when the eardrum fails to vibrate when exposed to sound waves. Deafness can also be a result of Nerve Damage, where eardrum and bones within the ear are perfectly functional, but the nerve is damaged and hence the brain cannot interpret the messages the ear is sending.
There could be 5 strange causes for partial deafness:
- Build up of ear wax that blocks the ear canal
- A foreign object stuck within the ear canal
- Excess mucus blocking the Eustachian tube due to allergies, flue, cold or hay fever
- Ear infections, like Otitis media and Otitis externa
- Use of some drugs like Chloroquine or Aminoglycosides
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