It’s been documented for decades that smoking and good health are at odds. A little known side effect of smoking is hearing loss. Chemicals produced by smoking a cigarette inhibit your inner ear’s ability to effectively transmit vibrations. The more you smoke, the greater the likelihood that irreversible damage will be done. Second-hand smoke can have the same effect on those around you.
A recent clinical study suggests that moderate to high alcohol intake results in brain alterations that inhibit the brain’s ability to interpret and process sounds. Alcoholism makes the problem severe — the central auditory cortex can become damaged, which can lead to brain tissue shrinkage. Damage to the inner ear (ototoxicity) is also a possibility for excessive drinkers. High levels of alcohol in the bloodstream create a toxic environment, which can damage the hair cells in the cochlea, affecting comprehension of speech and environmental sounds.
Being overweight is a risk factor for problems ranging from diabetes to circulatory trouble, all of which have been linked to hearing loss. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital published a study recently that suggests women with a higher body mass index have a higher risk of hearing loss. The study also found that simple physical activity, such as walking for two or more hours a week lowered the risk of hearing loss. The impact that diet has on your overall health, as well as your hearing health can be profound.
Avoiding the Dentist
You might not imagine that your dental health and hearing health are connected, but they can be. Poor dental hygiene allows harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream, narrowing and blocking arteries that lead to the brain. This can disrupt the way the brain receives signals from auditory nerves. Indifferent oral hygiene can also be a causal factor in stroke, heart attack and diabetes, which have been linked to hearing loss.
Avoiding the Doctor
An annual hearing checkup can detect hearing loss, but more importantly Dr. Riso will be able to tell you if your hearing loss is caused by something other than age. An obstruction, such as earwax buildup, inflammation or other problems can be addressed and possibly get you hearing again or stop further damage.
Make an appointment with Dr. Riso today to keep your hearing health on track!