Smoking and 4 Other Bad Habits That Increase Your Risk of Damaging Your Hearing

Millions of people suffer from some degree of hearing loss. While hearing loss has many variables, people are either born with hearing loss or it occurs later in life. 


For instances of hearing loss occurring later in life, the surprising truth is one’s lifestyle choices possibly made an impact. The good news is that many people are able to use hearing aids that helping individuals regain their hearing.


Even if you’re relatively healthy, certain bad habits can damage your hearing, including smoking.


How Smoking Can Affect Hearing


It seems pretty unlikely that something completely unrelated to your ears could cause hearing loss, right? The reality is that smoking damages more than just the lungs. It can affect mobility, vision and yes, even hearing. How? 


The nicotine found in cigarettes and vaping devices narrows the body’s blood vessels. In turn, this restricts how much blood is flowing through the body. A decreased blood flow can result in a variety of symptoms, including decreased hearing. 


4 Other Unhealthy Habits that Can Cause Hearing Loss


Smoking isn’t the only bad habit that can affect hearing. 4 unhealthy habits that can damage hearing include: 


1.Drinking too much alcohol. Excessive drinking of adult beverages can cause the nerves in the auditory cortex to shrink. This makes hearing muddled and difficult to understand. The auditory cortex is responsible for processing sound and making sense of it. 


  1. Ignoring the signs of hearing loss. Many people shrug off hearing loss by blaming temporary conditions, such as colds, or chalking it up to old age. While it’s true that hearing declines as the body ages, there can be a million other causes for hearing loss. Visiting your primary doctor for regular check-ups can catch hearing loss before it becomes irreversible. 


  1. Blasting music through earbuds. Earbuds that are inserted directly into the ear are more damaging than headphones and other devices that rest on the ears. This is because the sound that emits from earbuds goes directly into the eardrum with nowhere to disperse. Earbuds aren’t the only way to damage your hearing with loud sounds. 


  1. Other types of exposure to loud noises. Heavy machinery and rock concerts are two of the most common means of overexposure to loud noises. The National Institute on Deafness states that sounds over 85 decibels can damage hearing. They suggest that ear protection be used to prevent hearing damage when exposed continuously to loud noises. 


Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow


In most cases, hearing loss is permanent. It may or may not continue to decrease as time goes on. Given that hearing loss comes in different degrees, only an ear care professional can determine the magnitude of hearing loss and any remedies that can preserve the remaining hearing. 


One important step to prevent hearing loss is knowing the mundane bad habits that can inadvertently damage the hearing function. Ending bad habits may not reserve the symptoms, but it can prevent further damage. 


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