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QUESTION: What are some risk factors for hearing loss?

ANSWER: A number of factors are known to increase the likelihood of hearing loss. As we age, our exposure to loud sounds over the years can cause harm to the cells of the inner ear. Your genetic makeup may also make you more susceptible to impairment. Jobs where excessive noise is a regular part of the working environment, some medications, and some illnesses can also cause damage. Recreational noises such as from firearms and jet engines can cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. Other activities with dangerously high noise levels include motorcycling and listening to very loud music. Even with risk factors, prevention is key and early detection will afford you a wide variety of treatment options.