Hearing loss caused by old age may not be preventable, but many causes of hearing loss are. Below we review five habits that can harm your hearing so you know what you need to kick to protect your hearing health.
1. Smoking Cigarettes
Not only is smoking linked to cancer, heart disease and stroke, but also hearing loss. According to one 2019 study published in Nicotine & Tobacco, smokers are 60% more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss than nonsmokers. Another study from 2014 published in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery uncovered that teens exposed to cigarette smoke are two to three times more likely to develop hearing loss compared to those with no exposure.
If you’re having a hard time quitting smoking, consider trying nicotine patches from Dougherty’s Pharmacy for a while.
2. Improperly Cleaning Your Ears
You should never stick anything smaller than your elbow into your ear… And, yes, that includes Q-tips. If you try to clean your ears with cotton swabs, you’re more likely to push earwax deeper into the ear canal than actually remove it.
3. Listening Too Loudly
You should follow the 60:60 rule whenever listening to music through headphones. This rule states you should listen at no more than 60% of the device’s maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. You should follow this rule even if you’re just using one earbud, as you’re more likely to crank up the volume in order to compensate.
4. Taking Ototoxic Medications
There are more than 100 medications that are known to be ototoxic, which means they cause damage to the auditory system. Fortunately, in many cases, the hearing problems cease once you stop the medications; however, in some cases, the damage is permanent. Some common ototoxic drugs include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine
- Aminoglycoside antibiotics
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Loop diuretics
- Salicylate pain medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs
While some of these drugs are necessary to take, you should discuss non-ototoxic options with your doctor if you’re having hearing problems.
5. Delaying a Visit to Your Audiologist
Studies show that people wait up to ten years to seek help for their hearing loss! If you’re experiencing problems with your hearing and haven’t yet seen an audiologist, now is the time to schedule an appointment. Treating your hearing loss can prevent or delay a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, falls and even dementia.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Total Hearing Care today.