Even though we all have our bad habits, some are more harmful than others. In fact, some can harm your hearing health. Below we review four habits to quit today.
Within the inner ears are tiny hair cells called stereocilia that convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. These cells rely on oxygen from the blood supply in order to function.
Because nicotine restricts blood flow to the ears, smoking cigarettes and vaping can contribute to sensorineural hearing loss – or hearing loss caused by the stereocilia being damaged or destroyed.
The more you smoke, the greater your risk of damaging the stereocilia, not just in yourself, but also in those you love the most. One study found that adolescents who were exposed to secondhand smoke were almost twice as likely to experience low-frequency hearing loss than those who weren’t.
And though many people believe that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, this simply isn’t true. Many of the chemicals found in vapes or e-juices have harmful effects, particularly propylene glycol, which has been linked to sudden hearing loss.
When you drink excessively, you risk damaging the auditory cortex in the brain, which can affect the way your brain processes sound. You may experience increased time to process speech or trouble distinguishing one voice from another. This is evidenced by one German study conducted by researchers at the University of Ulm.
Another study by researchers in London found that heavy drinking can lead to problems hearing lower-frequency sounds. This is known as cocktail deafness. While this was temporary for most study participants, researchers hypothesize that frequent episodes of heavy drinking can result in permanent damage.
Putting Off Treatment
If you’re hesitant to schedule a hearing test because you don’t want to be told you need hearing aids, you should reconsider. The longer you wait to address hearing loss, the harder it is to treat. This is because hearing loss is a progressive condition, meaning it worsens over time. In addition, the longer your brain goes without hearing sounds, the longer it will take to acclimate when there are sounds coming in.
For support to quit smoking or drinking, contact Taylor Recovery. To schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Hearing Systems today.