Thanks to today’s media, most people know the dangers of hot topics like texting or drinking and driving but talking about how a person can harm their hearing health is not a conversation that happens often. Many people take their hearing for granted, just assuming it will always be as good as it is today.
What many aren’t aware of is that some of the most common things we do in life can harm us, causing hearing loss or even deafness. And it doesn’t affect just us, it affects those around us too. Some issues can be encountered second hand while others are learned, intentionally or not.
Here are some bad habits that can affect those dealing with poor hearing or even cause hearing loss for you or a loved one:
Excessive drinking is a habit that can have lasting effects. While family, doctors, and other health care providers talk about the dangers of drinking and how it can affect your liver, job, or relationships, it’s seldom mentioned that it can permanently affect your hearing.
According to the National Campaign for Better Hearing, excessive alcohol consumption can cause damage to the brain in the area that processes the sounds we hear. While you might know you’re hearing something, it can become less distinguishable. As alcohol is absorbed by the body, it mixes with the fluids in the ear.
Since this takes some time to flush out of the body, this alcohol flooded area allows the tiny sensory hairs inside the ears to soak up some of the alcohol. This can cause damage to the hairs that transmit the sounds we hear into something we understand. It also can cause blood vessels to swell and result in more blood flow into the ear which can cause a ringing in the ear.
Smoking is another habit that can have lifetime effects, not only for you, but others around you. Your hearing can be damaged by the reaction of chemicals that occur while smoking. These suppress the neurotransmitters that communicate the vibrations into sounds that you can recognize.
Over time, this habit can cause irreparable damage to your hearing. It also has a negative effect on those who are around when you light up. It can cause damage by irritating the tissues lining the middle ear, nose, and throat. This leads to opportunities for lower immunity, thus allowing infections to develop.
To compound this problem even further, a pregnant mother can cause damage to her unborn child’s hearing by smoking while pregnant. Due to similar chemical formulas, vaping is also responsible for damage to the hair cells inside the ear. These conditions are considered ototoxicity, or toxic to the ear. An audiologist can run tests to determine the extent of damage to an individual’s hearing.
Many people don’t realize that your oral health has a direct link to your hearing health. For those that are dedicated to seeing their dentist twice a year and for any issues that pop up, this shouldn’t be an issue. But for those who either neglect their teeth or have a history of gum disease or tooth decay, the results could be detrimental.
If daily dental hygiene isn’t observed, such as brushing or flossing, harmful bacteria can take root, allowing opportunities for inflammation or infection to occur. Without proper dental intervention, issues such as abscesses or infections can make their way into the bloodstream. This opens the door for it to spread throughout the body.
The sensory hair cells within the ear need a constant supply of healthy blood to continue the process of receiving vibrations. Without it, these tiny hairs may be permanently damaged due to the loss of circulation. If the hair cells are not able to function to transmit vibrations into sound, there will be hearing loss.
Staying up to date on your existing hearing loss will help you to be aware of the latest technological advancements as well as keep you in close contact with your audiologist should any issues or changes arise. This allows for the best possible outcome for dealing with your hearing health.
When people choose to ignore their hearing loss or pretend it doesn’t exist, it’s possible that there may be several unsatisfactory outcomes. First and foremost, you may not notice a decline in your ability to hear if you have no baseline comparison of what your current hearing capabilities are. Many people go without proper care because they are embarrassed or don’t want to bother with the appointments and hearing devices. Others are worried about the cost of treatments.
For younger patients, lack of treatment may result in a delayed learning of speech and educational skills. It’s best to seek treatment as early as possible if you think your child has a hearing loss. Older patients are typically the ones who don’t seek out an audiologist due to the stigma around wearing a hearing device.
There are many side effects due to hearing loss that can potentially be eliminated by seeking treatment from an audiologist such as higher blood pressure or headaches. Increased stress levels as well as physical muscle tension also wear a body down over time and are symptoms that are often easily treated by an audiologist.
Those who ignore these warning signs can suffer increased risk of depression, fatigue, and feelings of loss that they don’t understand, even the onset of dementia. People often speak of feeling cut off from family and friends and the lack of human interaction or frustration they suffer due to the inability to hear may affect their relationships as well.
Due to a lack of education, adults often make poor choices, feeling like they’d be embarrassed to be seen with hearing aids, or they aren’t technologically savvy enough to operate the equipment. These days, hearing aids are so tiny that most people aren’t aware when someone is wearing a device. An audiologist is able to give a comprehensive training to patients of all ages and backgrounds.
With all these factors stacking up, the most positive course of action would be to seek out a qualified audiologist. These doctors offer individualized treatment plans for those dealing with hearing loss and impairment. They receive specialized training to treat patients as well as explain the reason behind the symptoms, and the solutions. If you suspect you or a loved one are suffering from a hearing loss, call today.