This is a common problem affecting millions of people worldwide. Some causes are avoidable, some are not. Some are genetic, some are acquired. There are two main groups of deafness; sensorineural and conductive.
Sensorineural causes include deafness due to increasing age (presbyacusis) and due to nerve damage. Also in this category is noise induced hearing loss. This is hearing loss secondary to exposure to noise of high volume. To begin with, this may be reversible, but finally it becomes permanent. It tends to be tied up with tinnitus. This case of deafness is extremely relevant because it is entirely preventable by wearing earplugs. ZenPlugs are amazingly comfortable and effective so are worth a try.
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a blockage to the sound vibrations. This occurs between their origin and the sensory apparatus.
There are many reasons for this including impacted ear wax and a perforated ear drum. These causes are reversible and sometimes are avoidable. Impacted wax is often the consequence of careless use of ear buds. It can be removed using ear drops and/or suctioning. Syringing of the wax is not recommended any more as it can induce tinnitus and suctioning is far more efficient.
A perforated eardrum also causes conductive hearing loss. This can be induced by infection, scuba diving, foreign body in the ear and flying in an aeroplane. These usually heal on their own but occasionally require surgical intervention for a repair.
Other common ear disorders include swimmer's ear, surfers's ear and noise-induced hearing loss. All of them can be prevented by wearing a good pair of ear plugs.
Swimmer's ear. This is infection of the outer ear canal, otitis externa. Water, bacteria in the water and irritants such as perfumes, soaps and chlorine lead to infection and inflammation of the skin. ZenPlugs molded ear plugs are ideal at preventing this as they are antibacterial.
Surfer's ear. Surfer's ear is common amongst regular surfers with most life-long surfers having some degree of it, although they may not be aware of it. Often the first time people become aware of the malady is when they become deaf, at around 90% narrowing of the canal. Ear plugs prevent the condition by keeping cold wind and water away from the ears.
Noise-induced deafness. This is induced by exposure to high volume noise. Initially it is temporary but it may become permanent with repeated or prolonged exposure. For many years this was the one of the commonest work associated injuries. Thankfully it has become rather unusual for people in the developed world to become deaf in this way due to noise exposure at work due to health and safety law and the advent of personal protective equipment.