4 Habits Hurting Your Hearing Health

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You know to avoid loud noises and use hearing protection to prevent hearing loss, but those aren’t the only things that can impact your hearing health. Experts have identified a long list of conditions, medications, and even habits that can harm your hearing. Are you guilty of these everyday habits?

Dental oversights

Sometimes, even with the best intentions, we don’t take the best care of our teeth, and oral health suffers. You may wonder what your most recent cavity or forgetting to floss has to do with hearing health, but researchers have found a convincing link between the two that could have you cleaning up your dental care routine.

It all comes down to inflammation. Inflammation throughout the body can increase with poor oral health. Increased bacteria in the mouth moves through the body resulting in higher levels of inflammation. This inflammation can affect blood flow on which the delicate structures of the inner ear rely to function correctly. Without healthy blood flow, the small hair-like structures in the ear that pick up sound vibrations can become damaged leading to hearing loss.

Drinking too much

Could too many glasses of wine hurt our hearing? According to preliminary studies, the answer is yes, and in more ways than one.

First, it is believed that drinking affects auditory thresholds. That is, the more we drink, the fewer frequencies we’re able to hear. While that in itself may be temporary, this can be problematic because it makes us more tolerant of loud noise that can damage hearing.

Secondly, excessive drinking over a long period of time has been shown to physically damage auditory components of the brain and even inner ear affecting one’s ability to hear specific frequencies.

Smoking

Whether it’s classic cigarettes and cigars or the newest vape pen, smoking can damage hearing health. While the exact reason is still to be determined, many experts believe the chemicals taken into the body when smoking can affect blood flow and damage the inner ear similar to alcohol or inflammation.

Multiple studies have linked smoking and hearing loss over recent years:

  • This study in Japan found that of the 50,195 participants, 3532 developed high-frequency hearing loss, and 1575 developed low-frequency hearing loss. Researchers found that risk increased along with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
  • This study of 3753 individuals determined that “current smokers were 1.69 times as likely to have a hearing loss as nonsmokers.”
  • This cross-sectional study in 13,308 men aged 20-68 concluded that “a significantly higher incidence of any type of hearing loss was found in current and past smokers than in non-smokers.”

Poor diet

Following a diet that focuses on whole and unprocessed foods, lean proteins, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables could do more than just increase your energy and help with a healthy weight. It could also help protect your hearing.

Similar to poor dental health, an unhealthy diet can increase inflammation throughout the body negatively impacting blood flow. This chronic inflammation and poor blood flow is amplified even more without regular exercise.

There’s more to hearing health than you may realize. Protect yours and prevent hearing loss by ditching these habits and scheduling a hearing evaluation today.

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