Could your snoring be doing more than keeping your partner up at night? As most people know, hearing loss is usually a gradual process that results from aging or the cumulative effects of noise over a long period of time. But other factors can also impact your hearing. Here are some of the more surprising links to damaged hearing.
The Albany Medical center in New York ran a study of 13,967 people in 2014 which discovered that those with sleep apnea also had an increased susceptibility to hearing loss. We already know of a link between sleep apnea and heart disease, but this was the first instance a link was made between the sleep condition and hearing loss.
The same link was found the same year in a separate study by the American Thoracic Society. They found that people with sleep apnea increased their risk of high-frequency hearing loss by a third, and low-frequency hearing loss by an astonishing 90 percent.
A surprisingly common cause of temporary hearing loss is the build-up of too much earwax. We need earwax to keep our ear canals healthy, but if we have too much it can lead to problems with our hearing as well as other issues. We usually develop excess earwax slowly over a period of time. But it can also be due to misuse of cotton swabs. Most people don’t know that using cotton swabs can do more harm than good, pushing the earwax further into your ear canal and leading to a plug of earwax which results in the muffling of sound.
Luckily, this can be treated relatively simply by a doctor or hearing specialist. They will clean your ears with tools designed not to damage your inner ear, usually through irrigation of the ear canal, mineral oil, or manual removal of the earwax build-up.
It is already recommended that you don’t take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin for long periods. But recent research by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that it could also cause hearing loss in 16 percent of women when taken at high doses or for long periods of time. The author of the study Gary Curhan, MD, recommends limiting the amount and frequency of doses to limit this risk.
Smoking isn’t merely linked to lung cancer, respiratory disease, and heart disease. It can also lead to hearing loss. A recent Japanese study concluded that smokers were about one and a half times more likely to show symptoms of high-frequency hearing loss than their non-smoking peers. This was also confirmed in a study published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. The research conducted by Piers Dawes links smoking to cardiovascular disease, which has a negative effect on your hearing. His study found that smoking lowered blood circulation to the ears’ sensitive structures, reducing their ability to pick up sound. “The more you smoke, the higher the likelihood of poor hearing,” he simply stated.
What you eat can also have an effect on your hearing. A large study of the diets of women in the Journal of Nutrition in 2018 for example, saw that women who ate a diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were 30 percent less likely to develop hearing loss. Other research points to the importance of high iron foods such as red meat and leafy greens. Anemia leads to low levels of oxygen in the blood which can impair the inner ear, according to Deepa Sekhar, MD in a 2016 study in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Finally, we see a link in certain health conditions to hearing loss, specifically diabetes and high blood pressure. hearing loss is twice as common in those with diabetes than it is in those without diabetes. The explanation provided is blood vessel damage in the inner ear because of high blood glucose levels. It pays double, therefore, to make changes to manage your diabetes with lifestyle changes and regular monitoring of your blood glucose levels.
The link to high blood pressure is a more recent development. According to recent studies, high blood pressure damages blood vessels, including the delicate and tiny ones leading up to the ears. Research has found that the higher your blood pressure, the more your hearing is damaged. So, get your blood pressure checked regularly and make necessary changes to keep your blood pressure at normal levels.
For expert hearing healthcare, contact Active Hearing & Audiology
Our hearing health is connected to our overall health and quality of life, which makes it imperative to treat hearing loss as soon as it becomes noticeable. If you have noticed any changes in your hearing, get in touch with Active Hearing & Audiology for a comprehensive hearing evaluation and expert treatment. Your health and happiness depend on it, so don’t delay!