Unexpected causes of hearing loss

Most of us assume hearing loss is just a normal part of growing older. But did you know hearing loss can occur at any point in life regardless if you’re young or old? It’s true. A variety of factors can come into play causing progressive or sudden hearing loss in one or both ears. Below are a few of those causes you might not have expected.

We’ve all heard how bad smoking is for your health, especially the esophagus and lungs. But did you know it can also affect your hearing? Researchers have found that nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict and shrink, including the blood vessels that bring blood and oxygen to the inner ear. Without adequate blood flow, the cochlea can quite literally “suffocate,” resulting in hearing loss.

Pain killers
When in pain, we look for relief, but we bet you didn’t realize that taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days per week could actually result in an increased risk of hearing loss. Researchers suspect that these drugs actually reduce blood flow to the cochlea, thereby impairing its function. Other drugs that have been linked to hearing loss include antibiotics, oxycodone and certain types of chemotherapy. Read more in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Stress and Anxiety
Get ready for a Catch-22. We’ve talked about how hearing loss can make a person feel stressed and anxious, but did you know that stress and anxiety are also risk factors for developing hearing disorders? Studies have shown a correlation between stress levels and hearing ability. Because researchers have established a connection between stress and illness, it’s a chain reaction whereby stressed individuals may have a higher incidence of illness and infection, which in turn may lead to hearing impairment.

Seasonal allergies can get the best of us, especially in the Willamette Valley. But did you know sniffing and sneezing aren’t the only effects of seasonal allergies. Experts say that people with allergies are also susceptible to hearing loss. It is believed that high pollen levels can cause an allergic reaction in the inner ear, which causes swelling and an increase in fluid and wax accumulation. Luckily, many people find that as their allergies subside, so do their hearing problems.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.