The ability to hear the sounds around us is an important quality-of-life issue. Sure, hearing enriches our lives, whether it’s listening to Mozart or playing with a grandchild. Sounds make life more enjoyable, more worth living. But it’s not just about quality of life.
Since we often hear danger before seeing it, hearing loss can be a safety issue. For example, studies have shown persons with hearing loss can’t hear traditional smoke alarms and are at risk for injury if a fire was to occur in the middle of the night.
Loss of hearing is also a workplace issue. People with untreated hearing loss are less productive on the job. They make more mistakes because of mis-heard directions.
The fact is, hearing loss affects all aspects of life and over 30 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss, yet roughly only one-quarter of those do something about it – like have themselves fitted with hearing aids.
Hearing loss is often associated with age; however, there actually many ways we can lose our hearing well before we enter our Golden years.
Hearing Loss Causes - Workplace Noise
The factory floor, the assembly line, the jack hammer, the chainsaw – many of us have jobs that expose our ears to damaging levels of sound from 9-to-5 throughout the work week.
Wear ear protection – hear-through ear plugs, ear cups or noise cancellation devices will keep your hearing in tip-top shape longer.
Hearing Loss Causes - Ear Buds
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by long-term exposure to loud noise, so if you’re listening to your favorite tunes at ear splitting volume to block out the sounds of the world around you, guess what you may actually be doing damage.
Give your ears a break. First, turn down the volume. Second, consider purchasing noise-cancelling headphones so you don’t have to turn the volume up so high to hear. Lastly your hearing mechanism can recover if given quiet time so unplug. Go quiet for a while and let your hearing get back to normal.
Hearing Loss Causes - Driving with the Top Down
Driving around in a ’57 Vette, with the top down, the wind blowing through your hair and the CD blasting is fun. And cool. But driving with the top down, over time, can lead to hearing loss.
Studies have shown driving in a convertible, especially at high speeds over long periods of time, produces sound levels in excess of 89dBs – enough of a difference to create hearing problems if you’re in love with your open cockpit.
Hearing Loss Causes - Diabetes
A study carried out by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published by the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2008, reported persons with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss as non-diabetics.
Diabetes, when left untreated, affects blood flow. The inner ear depends on adequate blood flow and when reduced, hearing loss can occur due to tissue damage.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, follow doctor’s orders and have your hearing tested regularly.
Hearing Loss Causes - Medications
Some drugs come with serious side effects. Ototoxic drugs include many chemo-treatments for various kinds of cancer. But check this out: a drug most of keep in the medicine chest and take regularly is also known to contribute to hearing loss. That commonly-used drug? Aspirin.
Hearing Loss Causes - Smoking
Numerous studies have shown a connection between smoking and hearing loss. Like diabetes, smoking tobacco restricts blood flow. So each time you light up, you deny your cochlea the oxygen rich blood your hearing nerves require.
Like you needed another reason to kick butt.
Hearing Loss Causes - Sickle Cell Anemia
People with sickle cell anemia experience everything from fatigue to hearing loss to joint pain because the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body are misshapen, curved like the garden tool – the sickle.
Again, this restricts blood flow and, therefore, the delivery of oxygen to the hearing mechanism. Once again, over time, this may lead to mild to severe hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Causes - Ambient Noise
A subway pumps out over 100dBs. Traffic on a busy city street can easily reach levels higher than 100dBs.
The world has become a very noisy place. The solution? Put in some ear plugs. You can pick up a pair at the local drug store or box store. Do yourself a favor the next time you fire up the riding mower. Put in your ear plugs, first.
Hearing loss: it’s not just about aging anymore. To learn more about each of these unique causes of hearing loss, visit: The Many Different Ways to Lose Your Hearing.