8 Subtle Hearing Loss Risks
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is quite common in many adults today, especially those who have attended loud concerts over the years. And while noise is a common cause, it is certainly not the only one!
Age is a significant risk factor, so “old rockers” get it from both sources, and the CDC tells us that approximately 10% of those aged 6 – 19 already have suffered permanent damage to their hearing due to loud music from headphones or earbuds. Inherited and occupational hearing loss are also quite common.
Medications for ED
Viagra is one of many ototoxic drugs, also known as PD5 inhibitors, which can cause sudden hearing loss in one or both ears. Men who take these medications are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Always talk with Georgetown ENT about the side effects of any new medication before adding it to your daily regimen.
If you had the mumps as a child, you may be at risk for hearing loss. Although this is not proven conclusively, children should be immunized at age 12 – 15 months, and several other times throughout their lives, to avoid this risk.
Infected Ear Piercings
When piercings are done close to the ear canal and become infected, it can lead to hearing damage. With this type of infection, fluid can leak into the ear canal causing blockage and loss of hearing. It is important to only use certified piercing professionals at a licensed shop and to follow all aftercare instructions.
Sleep apnea reduces the blood supply to the inner ear. This part of the ear needs proper oxygen to process sound correctly. In addition, loud snoring can damage a person’s hearing, whether it be your own or that of a partner lying next to you.
Many serious health conditions can result from chronic stress, but with regard to hearing, circulation is the culprit. During most stressful situations the body sends oxygen to our muscles for quick reaction, and then the body goes back to its normal state. When we are chronically stressed, this back and forth exchange does not happen and the ear does not get sufficient oxygen or blood circulation to process sounds.
Too Much Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol damages the central auditory cortex, thus increasing the amount of time it takes to process sound. Teens and young adults who drink excessively can have problems hearing lower frequency sounds and will develop balance issues as they get older if their drinking habits do not change.
A recent study completed by Pennsylvania State University proved a relationship between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss. Those with iron deficiency are twice as likely to have hearing loss as those who are not iron deficient.
Vaping and Nicotine
Nicotine is addictive and is incredibly hazardous to your health because it restricts blood flow to all parts of your body. Even E-cigarettes with no nicotine can be dangerous, as they contain propylene glycol, which is an alcohol based substance. This compound has shown to be harmful to our ears when used topically. Be wary of vaping just as with smoking.
See Georgetown ENT to monitor your hearing health and be treated for any issues.