Hearing loss is not generally a one-time event. Instead, hearing loss occurs over time, which is often why senior citizens often struggle with their hearing after a lifetime of engaging in habits that cause hearing loss.
If you are unsure if any of your current habits are contributing toward your future hearing loss, our hearing instrument specialist here at Modern Hearing Solutions of Wyoming has covered seven of the most common habits that cause sensorineural hearing loss.
1. Using Nicotine Products
The use of nicotine products like chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars can contribute to hearing loss. Nicotine has the effect of restricting blood flow, which can damage the hair cells in your inner ear. Once these cells are damaged, sound transmission to the brain is disrupted permanently.
Also, e-cigarettes with nicotine are not exempt from these issues. The nicotine that is vaped through an e-cigarette is just as potent as the other ways you can consume nicotine.
Also, when it comes to vaping, the e-liquid chemicals have not been on the market long enough for healthcare professionals to know all the effects. It is best not to take the gamble with your health by using products that have unknown side-effects.
2. Neglecting Hearing Protection
Loud noise exposure is the most common source of hearing loss when it comes to sensorineural hearing loss. We walk through a world of sounds and noises; yet, there are times where simple hearing precautions are neglected.
For instance, say that you know you are attending a concert, but you don’t bring any earplugs. This lack of hearing protection can lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus. Also, common for Wyoming is for hunters and other gun enthusiasts to neglect hearing protection. As the discharge of a gun can exceed decibels of 120 dB, you can quickly and permanently damage your hearing without the right protection.
3. Drinking Excessively
Low-frequency hearing loss has been associated with drinking alcohol excessively. With excessive drinking, a toxic environment is developed in your inner ear, which can damage the delicate hair cells that transmit sounds to your cochlear nerve.
Also, drinking can affect your central auditory cortex, which is the area of the brain that processes the sound that it received from the cochlear nerve, causing it to shrink. As the size is reduced, you can experience greater difficulty in understanding the sounds that you hear.
4. Ignoring Dental Health
It may sound funny, but your hearing can be affected by how healthy your teeth are. Since the body is an open system, it makes sense that infection in your mouth from bacteria can lead to issues with your hearing.
Namely, if you have an infection in your mouth and that infection reaches your bloodstream, it can lead to inflammation that narrows your arteries. With narrowed arteries, you can struggle with hearing loss as critical cells die.
5. Mismanaging Chronic Health Issues
There is a range of chronic health issues that can lead to hearing loss if they aren’t carefully managed, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. When these issues get out of control, they can affect your entire body, from leading to memory issues to struggling with cardiovascular issues. With these kinds of issues, using hearing aids would be one of the easy things you would need to do to properly manage your health concerns.
6. Taking Ototoxic Medication
It can surprise people to learn that there are medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that can be ototoxic—meaning that it is toxic to your hearing. Often, ototoxicity is not always listed, and you will need to ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not your medication is ototoxic.
Some of the effects of ototoxic medications are temporary, and your hearing will return. However, there are some ototoxic medications that lead to permanent hearing loss, so to be on the safe side, check before starting a new medication.
7. Skipping Hearing Evaluations
Last, but certainly not least, skipping out on your annual hearing evaluation may be a habit that is contributing to your hearing loss. To help halt the progression of hearing loss, you need to have it addressed as early as possible.
For many adults, hearing loss can start in their late forties to early fifties. However, without a hearing evaluation, it is pretty much impossible to detect and can become worse without treatment.
If you are unsure if you already have hearing loss, it is essential that you contact us for a hearing evaluation with our hearing instrument specialist. He can test you and determine if there is any hearing loss present. That way, if there is hearing loss, you can address it sooner rather than later when it gets worse.