Hearing impairment is a gradual process, and may go undetected for a long time. The leading preventable cause is exposure to loud noises. Veterans of war, particularly those who were exposed to artillery fire, often develop hearing problems. So do rock musicians. Tiny hairs inside the ears pick up sounds and transmit them to the brain. Overly loud noises can damage these hairs, and they never grow back. Of course there are many other causes of hearing loss. Age is one. Statistics show that thirty percent of men between the ages 65 and 74 report some hearing loss. By the age of 85, that number jumps to fifty-eight percent. Other causes of hearing impairment are preventable or reversible. Consult an ear professional to check for possible treatable causes, or to recommend methods to compensate for hearing loss.