Sensory perceptions are a significant part of human existence, but most people take them for granted. Imagine how challenging life can be when you cannot see, taste, smell, hear, or feel.
Hearing loss is a common and underrated health concern that can impact the quality of life. According to statistics, 25.4 million Americans struggle with mild hearing loss. Moderate levels affect 10.7 million people, while 1.8 million people live with severe hearing loss.
Undoubtedly, the condition is more widespread than you imagine. The numbers also underscore the significance of digging deep into the causes of hearing loss and addressing them to reduce the prevalence.
While aging and exposure to loud noises are the common factors causing impairment, people may encounter it due to some surprising culprits. Awareness can help you limit your risk and ensure optimal auditory health.
Here are a few unexpected causes of hearing impairment that deserve attention:
Did you know that prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can affect the body’s processes? Your sensory perceptions are no exception when it comes to the health hazards of chronic stress. The next time you feel stressed out, think beyond elevated blood pressure and rapid heart rate because the condition can affect your auditory health as well.
According to research, emotional stress is linked with otologic (ear-related) symptoms such as tinnitus and dizziness. Stress can also contribute to the beginning or aggravation of tinnitus in the long run. The best way to minimize the risk is by embracing relaxation techniques and mindfulness practices. Besides protecting your ears, these remedies can improve overall well-being.
Exercising in Noisy Environments
Regular exercise is essential for fitness, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being. Studies correlate high levels of fitness and regular activity with better sensory perceptions. However, there is another side of the picture you should be aware of.
Surprising as it may sound, exercising in the wrong environment can do just the opposite, only because you expose your ears to deafening noises for a prolonged period. Even worse, some people use earphones to enjoy music while working out. You can address the risk by opting for environments with controlled noise levels or wearing ear protection.
Medication Side Effects
Another surprising reason for hearing loss is medication side effects. Some over-the-counter and prescription medications have been linked with hearing loss. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and diuretics can potentially damage the auditory system. The Tepezza lawsuit highlights the risk of Teprotumumab, a medication used for treating thyroid eye disease (TED).
In a recent study by the Endocrine Society, nearly 65% of patients taking Tepezza experienced significant hearing problems. According to TorHoerman Law, patients suffering from hearing loss due to Tepezza can hold Horizon Therapeutics responsible for failure to warn patients about this potential side effect.
Patients should be aware of the potential side effects of medications before using them. You can seek guidance from your healthcare provider, read product labels, and dig deep with research to understand the risks. Healthcare professionals can recommend alternative medications or adjust the dosage to minimize the side effects.
The health hazards of smoking extend beyond respiratory issues, lung damage, and cancer risks. It can also affect your auditory health. Healthy Hearing notes that prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke may impact a person’s hearing health. Besides smoking directly, the risk applies to people inhaling it secondhand or even in utero.
The toxic chemicals in cigarettes limit blood flow to the inner ear, depriving it of oxygen and essential nutrients. Low blood flow may damage the auditory cells, resulting in hearing impairment over time. You have another good reason to kick the butt sooner rather than later.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can harm your well-being in many ways, including damaging your auditory health. Studies establish a link between a lack of sleep and several inner ear diseases, including tinnitus and hearing loss. Furthermore, sleep deprivation may aggravate noise-induced damage to the inner and outer ear.
Sleep disturbances can contribute to stress levels with a rise in cortisol. As mentioned earlier, high stress can damage the inner ear and lead to hearing loss. You can reduce the risk by establishing healthy sleep patterns and seeking diagnosis and timely treatment for sleep disorders.
The Bottom Line
Hearing loss is not necessarily related to age, medical conditions, and exposure to loud noises. You may experience it even due to the most unexpected reasons. By being aware of these lesser-known contributors, you can build your defenses and take proactive measures to protect your auditory health. A few simple lifestyle changes and caution with medications can help you avoid these risks and preserve your hearing power over the years.