\Most of the time, hearing loss is caused by either prolonged exposure to excess noise (noise induced hearing loss), or natural aging (presbycusis), or a combination of both. While these two causes are certainly the most common, there are some other surprising factors that could be contributing to hearing loss in your own life.
Understanding these surprising links and contributing factors can help you to better care for your hearing health and that of your family. Learn about some of the lesser known risk factors to hearing loss below.
While medications help to keep us healthy and heal us from ailments, they also come with their fair share of side-effects. For some medications, one of these side-effects could be hearing loss. Medications that are known to potentially cause hearing loss are called ototoxic. One may be surprised to learn their go-to med may be ototoxic!
- Ototoxic Over the Counter Meds – OTC painkillers such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, and
aspirin have all been linked to an increased risk of hearing loss or tinnitus
with prolonged use – especially for women.
- Ototoxic Prescription Drugs – Aminoglycoside antibiotics were one of the first antibiotics ever developed, and are known to cause hearing loss. These antibiotics are now rarely prescribed, and are reserved for only the most severe infections. Other drugs such as those used in conjunction with chemotherapy and those used to prevent malaria have also been tied to hearing loss.
Sometimes, hearing loss is the result of a simple blockage – most commonly a buildup of excess earwax. While gross, earwax is actually extremely important to the health of our ears. It protects against physical and bacterial organisms from entering our ears, however, too much of it can cause hearing loss. Cleaning your ears at home with cotton swabs is actually quite dangerous, and can push the wax further into your ear canal. If you would like to clean your ears at home, you can try to soften the ear wax with a few drops of baby oil and rinse with a few drops of warm water the next day. The safest way to clean your ears, however, is to schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional who can remove the wax safely and effectively.
Health Conditions or Infections
Ear infections, common colds, and respiratory infections have all been known to cause hearing loss. If an infection is the culprit, hearing loss will most likely come on suddenly and abruptly. This type of hearing loss is usually reversible if treated quickly, however, if left untreated, it can become permanent.
Other health conditions are also risk factors for hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss is twice as likely amongst adults with diabetes than those without it. Proper blood flow to all the little vessels in our ears is essential to our hearing.
“Harmless” Daily Activities
Blow-drying your hair each morning or mowing the lawn each weekend can seem like harmless parts of daily life, however, this is not true when it comes to your hearing. Blow dryers blast air and noise directly into your ear canals which can easily cause damage, and mowing the lawn is a noisy activity that is rarely accompanied by hearing protection. It is important to take your ears into consideration when completing your daily activities. Wear hearing protection whenever possible and avoid allowing any air or foreign objects to enter your ears.
A recent study out of Japan has found that people who smoke cigarettes are 1.5 times as likely as nonsmokers to develop hearing loss. Lessening unhealthy habits such as tobacco and alcohol use can help to protect our hearing health. Regular exercise and eating a healthy and balanced diet have also been shown to decrease risk of hearing loss as well as a myriad of other health conditions. As if we all needed another reason to eat healthier and exercise more!
Get a Hearing Test Today at Atlanta Hearing Doctor
If you have noticed some changes to your hearing or think you may be experiencing some of the early signs of hearing loss, it is important to schedule a hearing assessment as soon as possible. Reach out to our friendly team today – we look forward to hearing from you.