Unexpected Causes of Hearing Loss

Unexpected Causes of Hearing Loss

Bary E. Williams Au.D. Uncategorized

If you deal with hearing loss you already understand how frustrating it can be. It is exhausting to struggle with communication amongst friends, family and coworkers every day and to be less alert in the world around you. 

If you could go back and change the actions in our life that led us to hearing loss most of us would but sometimes these events are out of our control. Wearing ear protection when in proximity to loud noises like rock concerts, power tools and firework displays are important ways to avoid escalating hearing loss but there are so many other causes of hearing loss to be aware of. 

Let’s explore some of the less commonly understood causes of hearing loss so you can do your best to avoid causing irreversible damage to your ears.

Hypertension

Age related hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss, affecting one in three people over the age of 65 and half of those over 75. However, it is the actual health of the individual that can make all the difference in having healthy hearing longer. One aspect that people don’t understand about our overall health and healthy hearing is the importance of keeping your blood pressure at a safe level. 

If you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension studies have found that you are 50% more likely to struggle with hearing loss. Hypertension is a risk you’re your heart but also your ears! When your blood pressure is high, it damages your blood vessels, including those in your inner ear. The blood vessels in your inner ear keep the tiny hairs and nerves that send sound to your brain healthy. To protect your ears into the future, make sure to talk to your doctor about the best strategies for keeping your blood pressure at a safe level.

Diabetes

It is estimated that diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the U.S. and is the leading cause for all sorts of health risks including blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. 

Recent research has found that diabetes puts you at 50% chance of hearing loss as well. Know the symptoms of diabetes, including increased thirst, sleeplessness, blurred vision, slow healing of infections and trouble concentrating. Visit your physician to make a plan to control diabetes and protect your hearing.

Smoking

These days everyone is warning us of the risks of smoking. Not only does it heighten your risk of lung cancer and lung disease but now researchers suspect that it can negatively affect your hearing. The nicotine found in cigarettes restricts the function of red blood cells. Not only does this affect your lungs but also the delivery of healthy oxygen rich blood cells to the inner ears. Over time, this can create quite a hearing deficit.

Pain killers

Certain drugs are classified as ototoxic, meaning that they can damage your fragile inner ear. Many of these drugs have positive helpful effects, like some chemotherapy drugs used to fight cancer, or antibiotics used to fight infections. One drug that many people take on a regular basis is over the counter pain medicine. 

Millions of Americans take these anti-inflammatories without thinking twice, to deal with a minor headache or body pain without realizing the risk they are putting their hearing in. Some of the most common household painkillers include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (like Advil) or aspirin. It only takes regular use a couple of times a week to put your hearing at risk. 

Head trauma

When riding a bike or playing sports it is recommended that you wear a helmet to protect your head. Do you know that wearing a helmet can also protect you from hearing loss. An impact to the head, whether from sports, or a car accident can damage your inner ear leaving you with sudden hearing damage.

Deal with your hearing loss

While hearing loss is permanent, it can be treated with hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify the world around you so you can hear even with existing hearing loss. Don’t hesitate to deal with your hearing loss another day. Contact us to set up an appointment for a hearing test. We can help you find the best hearing aids for your needs and keep you hearing healthy for years to come.

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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