Hearing loss is common, with research telling us that approximately 15% of American adults report some trouble hearing.
People can develop hearing loss for all sorts of reasons. Some are born with it or develop it later in life due to genetic conditions. For others, it’s a consequence of old age or a reaction to certain medications. However, in other cases, people develop hearing loss by engaging in behaviors that are harmful to their hearing health.
Let’s take a look at five behaviors that can increase your risk of developing hearing loss or other hearing-related problems.
Five Harmful Hearing Habits
- Loud noise exposure. Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Any sound over 85 decibels (dB) has the potential to harm your hearing, with louder noises increasing your risk. Activities like attending rock concerts, riding motorcycles and working in a loud environment like a construction site without proper hearing protection can all damage your hearing and also cause issues like tinnitus.
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle. Regular physical exercise is good for every aspect of your health, including your hearing health. That’s because exercises, like yoga or regular walks at Fox Hollow Trail, improve blood circulation and help prevent illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, both of which can increase your risk of developing hearing loss.
- Smoking. Similarly to a lack of exercise, smoking also increases your risk of diseases that can upset blood flow to your entire body, including your inner ear. This can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, which in turn can lead to permanent hearing loss.
- Excessive headphone use. Wearing headphones and particularly in-ear earbuds for long periods of time can also cause damage to the hair cells of the inner ear, especially if the volume is too loud or you spend more than eight hours a day using them.
- Not treating ear infections. Ear infections are more common in children than adults. Additionally, most hearing loss caused by an ear infection is temporary and the result of fluid buildup in the ear that clears when the infection wanes. However, a severe or chronic ear infection can cause damage that leads to permanent hearing loss. It’s best to get any ear infection symptoms checked by a doctor to make sure you aren’t at risk for longer-lasting problems.
Schedule a Hearing Test to Protect Hearing Health
Another important aspect of protecting your hearing health is to schedule a hearing test if you or your loved ones notice any changes in your hearing. The sooner you are diagnosed and can be fitted with hearing aids or other assistive listening devices, the easier it will be to stay connected to others and feel confident in your ability to navigate your environment.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Pinnacle ENT today.