At a certain point, hearing loss may be classified as a disability. For
5 Surprising Causes of Hearing Loss
Approximately one in three people have hearing loss in the U.S. due to their age. We also know that overexposure to loud noises or genetic conditions can have an impact on hearing loss. You may even be aware of the fact that continual and long-term consumption of over-the-counter medication may lead to hearing loss. Yet for many people, it can be difficult to pinpoint the individual causes of their own hearing loss. Davis Audiology is here to shed some light on five of the little-known causes of hearing loss.
Stress can impact many areas of the body as a result of the actions the body takes when exposed to this additional pressure. Stress causes your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces the pace of blood flow throughout the body. This can have an impact on peripheral body parts like your ears, reducing the supply of oxygen that reaches them. Over time the small hairs in your ear may gradually become damaged or hearing may stop completely if circulation to the ears stops. Finally, in very rare cases stress might cause a hemorrhage to the ear, impacting its inner workings and leading to long-term hearing loss.
Consuming Too Much Alcohol
Similar to the impact of stress on the auditory system, excessive alcohol consumption can take its toll on many areas of the body. Additionally, excessive consumption can eventually damage a vital part of your ears known as the central auditory cortex. This is the part of your ears that processes sound ready to be interpreted by your brain. Even individual cases of consuming too much alcohol may lead to issues processing lower frequency sound, sound processing delays and long-term balance issues.
Smoking irritates the lining of the middle ear and actually triggers the draining of some of the mucous that protects your ear. This can lead to long-term issues like blockages in your ear, causing pressure to build up and leading to eventual hearing loss. Even the risk of ear infections due to ear blockages can cause long-term damage to your ear canal. Cigarettes also block the ear’s ability to communicate sounds to the brain, which can lead to difficulty processing sound.
Individuals with an iron deficiency may be twice as likely to experience hearing loss. This is because iron plays an essential part in supplying blood to inner ear hair cells. When iron levels are low, this may impact the body’s ability to deliver blood to these cells, leading to cell death. Over time, if iron deficiency goes untreated there is a risk that this might lead to long-term hearing loss.
The two main sleep conditions that can impact the ear are insomnia and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when your breathing becomes erratic while you sleep, which can impact your oxygen supply. Even the smallest changes to oxygen can impact the intricate and sometimes delicate systems within the ear. The second condition is insomnia (lack of sleep), which can cause hearing loss. While further research is needed into how poor sleep and hearing loss are linked, it is proven to worsen existing conditions like tinnitus.
How Can I Stop These Causes from Affecting My Hearing?
Fortunately, there are some clear steps you can take to prevent these causes from impacting your hearing loss.
Steps you can take include:
- Reducing your caffeine intake to reduce stress and improve your sleep patterns
- Cutting back on habits like smoking, vaping or excessive drinking
- Ensuring that conditions like anemia, insomnia or sleep apnea are adequately treated
- Exercise and maintain a healthy diet to reduce stress or compulsive habits like drinking
In general, healthy eating and exercise combined with the moderation of smoking, vaping or alcohol consumption should help you reduce your risk of hearing loss. Your audiologist will be able to advise on additional steps you can take to manage your hearing loss.
How Can Davis Audiology Help Me with My Hearing Loss?
At Davis Audiology, we have a dedicated team of audiologists who can help you pinpoint the cause of your hearing loss. Our audiologists can also advise on how to prevent your hearing loss from worsening due to that external factor. We offer an array of different technologies and solutions to address any hearing loss or tinnitus issues you may be experiencing. Talk to us at 864-655-8300 to find out more about what we do and how we can help with your hearing loss.