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5 Surprising Causes of Hearing Loss

side of man's head and ear

There are over 1.5 billion people around the world who experience hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While aging is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, it is not the only one. Hearing loss can be caused by a wide variety of factors, such as working with loud machinery or going to a concert. It can also be caused by factors you may not have realized, and may even come as a surprise to you. 

This is because there’s not always a clear link between the cause and the experience of hearing loss. However, hearing loss can come about quite easily, as the ear is a sensitive and complex organ that can be easily damaged. This damage can come about physically, like a trauma to the head or damage to the inner parts of the ear, such as the tiny hair cells that channel sound. 

If you’re interested in learning more, here are some of the top five most surprising causes of hearing loss. 

1. Chronic stress 

Stress is a normal part of life and can be helpful in some cases. When a person gets stressed, the physiology of their body will change. The body will direct blood around the body and send it to the important muscle groups that would help a person react quickly to a threat. 

Other key elements, such as nutrients and oxygen, are also redirected around the body temporarily, and in some cases, this can be from the parts of the body that affect hearing and cause damage to the inner ear mechanisms and delicate tissue. If a person experiences chronic stress, they may experience hearing loss regularly. 

2. Binge Drinking 

Alcohol is seen as a harmless act, especially if a person likes to go out on the town with their friends on a regular basis. Unfortunately, consuming alcohol in large quantities can be detrimental to a person’s health. This includes a range of different things, from mental health to hearing. The ear is a complex system. 

For a person to be able to hear a sound, the auditory sounds have to be processed in the central auditory cortex, so they can be interpreted and understood. Alcohol consumed in large quantities can lead to damage to the central auditory cortex, sound processing delays, inner ear fluids causing balancing issues due to alcohol absorption, difficulty processing lower frequencies and more.

3. Poor Diet

The way a person fuels their body will impact their entire life, including their health. If a person is overweight, they are more than likely to experience hearing loss. This is because obesity is typically caused by consuming too many or too little of the nutrients that may interfere with the blood flow through the body, which includes the ears. Some of these dietary factors include excessive sugars and fats. 

A person with an iron deficiency is also at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss. The hair cells in the inner ear convert sound into electrical impulses ready for the brain to interpret. For these hair cells to function, they require a sufficient flow of blood. Low levels of iron can impact the level of blood supply that reaches the ear, along with other deficiencies such as B12. 

4. Excessive Exercise 

It can be hard to believe that exercise, something that is promoted to be good for people in society, can lead to a person experiencing hearing loss. While exercise is good for mental and physical health, it is possible to overdo it. This can cause an injury, stress on the body, as well as impact hearing. Due to the pressure a person's body is put under when they participate in high impact of excessive exercise, it can lead to a range of new experiences in the body, including tinnitus and dizziness. It can also lead to the inner ear membranes being damaged. 

5. Vaping

Vaping is commonly marketed as a better alternative to smoking, and a device that can aid in quitting. Along with these advertising messages, it is deemed as a safer option. Unfortunately, consuming vaping substances comes with a range of risks to a person’s health. This is because they contain ingredients such as a synthetic liquid called propylene glycol, which has been linked to conductive hearing loss from the middle ear. 

Regardless of the reason why a person experiences hearing loss, it is important to seek advice and support from an audiologist. To learn more about Hearing & Balance Specialist of Illinois and contact the team by calling 775-336-0211.