By John O’Connor
Hearing loss sometimes may seem inevitable, especially as we age. For example, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 17 million adults in the United States report some form of hearing loss and almost 50 percent of adults ages 75 or older have hearing loss.
Hearing loss can occur suddenly or gradually and occurs in varying degrees of severity. Some people are born deaf, called congenital hearing loss, while others eventually lose hearing due to age, inner ear conditions or exposure to loud noise. However, not all hearing loss is inevitable. There are several aspects of healthy living that can decrease the likelihood or severity of hearing loss.
Healthy Living and Hearing Loss
One of the primary causes of hearing loss is exposure to very loud noise over an extended period of time or in an extreme situation. In addition, exposure to loud noises can cause very gradual hearing loss, which means that the individual does not realize that he or she is experiencing hearing loss until the problem is pronounced.
As such, individuals can choose to avoid exposure to repetitive or extremely loud noises. If the noise is part of a work place or another such circumstance that is difficult to avoid, wear ear protectors to help block noise from reaching the inner ear.
Another important element to healthy living to prevent or reduce hearing loss is exposure to secondhand smoke, which may come as a surprise to many people. However, the NYU School of Medicine recently reported that exposure to secondhand smoke can almost double the chance of young people developing hearing loss.
The reason secondhand smoke is harmful is because it causes issues with the cochlea, which is a small organ situated inside the inner ear. Problems with the cochlea may result in profound hearing loss and speech problems. If this occurs, the problem is irreversible and the afflicted individual may require hearing aids to restore normal hearing.
Daily healthy lifestyle habits can also help prevent hearing loss. For example, never poke a cotton swab into the ear, as this may damage the inner ear. When blowing the nose, do so gently through both nostrils at the same time. In addition, swallow and yawn frequently during air travel to prevent congestion that can lead to a painful sensation in the ears that could contribute to hearing loss.
For more information about how to live a healthy lifestyle and help prevent hearing loss, contact your physician.
- Healthy Hearing Habits (babyguardian.wordpress.com)