Hearing loss is one of the most common physical health conditions in Albany, affecting more people than all other medical disorders except arthritis and heart disease.
That may come as an eye-opener to you! You might also be surprised to learn about some of the everyday causes of hearing loss overlooked by many.
Aging, Noise and…the Blender?!
Aging and noise exposure are the top causes of hearing loss in Albany, but they certainly aren’t the only ones.
Plenty of other factors can contribute to a decline in hearing ability, either sudden or gradual – and chances are, you probably wouldn’t have ever considered some of them!
That is the definition of a surprise, though.
Less common causes of hearing loss include:
- Medical conditions. Certain physical health conditions are associated with hearing loss. Diabetes doubles your risk factor, and even people with prediabetes are 30 percent more likely to develop a hearing impairment thanks to a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the inner ear. Other diseases that increase your chances of hearing loss include high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. If you are suffering from a chronic health condition, make sure you have your hearing checked annually – the earlier your hearing loss is diagnosed, the more treatment options you will have and the lower your risk for other health complications.
- Everyday sounds. We are exposed to constant noise on a daily basis, but often become so used to it we no longer notice. Noise from traffic, barking dogs, your neighbor’s lawn mower and even common household appliances (think vacuum cleaners, dishwashers and blenders) all take a toll on your hearing. Over time, their cumulative effects may lead to permanent damage of the hair cells in your cochlea that allow you to hear. To reduce your odds of developing hearing loss, look for appliances with lower decibel ratings (this information is often available in the product manual or the manufacturer’s website) and, when possible, keep your windows closed.
- Music. They say that music soothes the savage beast, but when it’s played too loudly it does more harm than good. It’s probably obvious to you that attending a noisy concert can cause hearing damage, but even if you never set foot anywhere near Coachella you can still end up with music-related hearing loss. Protect your ears by keeping the volume set at no more than 60 percent of maximum and take frequent breaks to give your ears a rest, especially if you’re wearing earbuds or headphones. Speaking of the latter, look into investing in noise-cancelling headphones for the best hearing protection; these block outside noises so you can listen comfortably at lower volume levels. It’s also a good idea to slip a pair of earplugs into your gym bag, particularly if you participate in group exercise classes where loud music is the norm.
- Medical treatments. Treatment chronic or acute health conditions may end up causing damage to your ears. There are over 200 ototoxic medications – drugs that can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Prime offenders include aspirin, diuretics and certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. Be vigilant when starting a new prescription and let your doctor know immediately if you notice any changes in your hearing. If so, ask if there are alternative medications for your condition (but don’t stop taking your prescriptions without receiving an okay from your physician). Other health conditions, such as earwax buildup and balance disorders, can contribute to hearing loss, as well.
For more information about hearing loss in Albany and steps you can take to prevent it, speak to an audiologist today!