Although there are various factors that can damage hearing health; you, yourself, might be unwittingly and unconsciously damaging your hearing health with the daily habits of you. Identifying these habits, that can potentially damage your hearing, will allow you to take necessary precautions to protect your ear health.
You might have already heard the potential danger of some of the habits that we mentioned below such as; listening to loud music.
On the other hand, some of the habits considered potentially dangerous for hearing health by experts may surprise you a lot.
Habits that can Damage your Hearing
Even though ( considering ) your hearing is perfectly fine at the moment, you may encounter hearing problems with ageing. To avoid hearing issues that occur due to mistakes you unconsciously make today, you need to know the habits that can set the stage for hearing impairments. In this way, you can minimise the risk of suffering from hearing problems.
In this section, we will discuss 7 habits that could damage your hearing. Being aware of the potential danger of these habits for your hearing will make you a more conscious person in terms of protecting your ear health.
Without further ado, let’s investigate these potentially “harmful” habits one by one.
Sedentary lifestyle and hearing damage!! It might appear to you irrelevant or you might not be able to see any correlation between them. However, studies and experts explain how a sedentary lifestyle brings on hearing issues.
The first and more direct reason why a sedentary lifestyle can potentially cause hearing loss is about blood flow. When you don’t move enough during the day, blood circulation decreases throughout the body. As a result of this, like other parts of your body, your ears as well can’t receive enough blood, resulting in inner cells to die.
Once the damage occurs in the inner ear cells, it may not be regenerated again. However, this applies to long years of a sedentary lifestyle.
Exercising or being physically active enable blood to flow not only to your ears but also to each part of your body.
Another way a sedentary lifestyle damages hearing is to cause diseases that lead to hearing problems.
Insufficient physical activity during the day makes you more susceptible to obesity or being overweight, underlying reasons for high blood pressure and diabetes. Please note that these two diseases are known to cause hearing damage.
As experts state: if a person has high blood pressure, blood vessels- including the vessels that go to the ears- get damaged over time. It affects blood flow to the ears, thus increasing the risk of hearing loss.
Additionally, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that diabetics are more likely to develop hearing loss compared to non-diabetic people.
Summary: A sedentary lifestyle cause hearing problems by bringing on diseases associated with hearing impairments. Endevaour to stay physically active during the day.
2- Cotton Swabs
It might be surprising to hear that cotton swabs – that you probably use after taking shower- can potentially damage your ears.
As we all know, the main reason to use cotton swabs is to remove the wax accumulated inside the ear canal, thus keeping the ears clean. However, according to experts; cotton swabs do more harm than good.
According to ear specialist Dr Yu-Tung Wong from Cedars Sinai Hospital; there are two drawbacks of using cotton swabs.
Firstly; he says; cotton swab can push earwax deeper and deeper. And, if the wax goes too deep there is no way to sweep the wax out.
Secondly and more importantly; cotton swabs may puncture the eardrums- which are quite fragile- thus causing hearing loss. Dr.Wong underlines that sensitive structures behind the ear canal can get damaged due to cotton swab use. And, this even can result in complete deafness.
In this section, we have discussed why you shouldn’t clean your ear canal with a cotton swab or another material like a pencil, paper clips or a tweezer. However, you might be wondering about what else you could use to clean your ears, if not with a cotton swab.
Hearing care specialists from Healthy Hearing indicate that cleaning the outer part of the ear is safe, but, there is no need to clean the ear canal because the ears have the ability to clean themselves.
Summary: According to experts, it is not safe to clean the ear canal with a cotton swab or suchlike material as it can bring on serious hearing problems.
3- Neglected Ear Protection
Ear specialists point out that if your working environment exposes you to loud noise, you must never overlook the importance of ear protection.
According to Manatee Hearing; the followings job can cause hearing loss,
– Flight Crew
– Ambulance Driver
– Manufacturer or factory worker
– Rock starts
– Motorcycle Rider
Soldiers as well are at the risk of experiencing hearing impairment unless they protect their ears while shooting.
Summary: if you are exposed to loud noises in your workplace, do not neglect to protect your ears with specially-designed ear protection that minimise the loud. In this way, you can substantially decrease any potential damage to your hearing health.
We all know that smoking is harmful to the human body and can bring about many health issues such as cancer, heart attack and so on. Quite surprisingly, another part of the body that smoking damages is the ears.
According to experts; tobacco products disrupt the delicate mechanism of the ear, thus causing hearing impairments.
As per a medical report written over the relationship of hearing loss and smoking; smokers have a 70% more chance of experiencing hearing loss. Moreover, those who exposed to second-hand tobacco are twice as likely to experience hearing problems.
What’s certain is; nicotine restricts blood flow to the ears. And, this restricted blood flow can induce hearing problems, especially after a certain age.
Summary: Studies and experts suggest that smoking increases the risk of hearing loss, particularly in the long run.
5-Drinking Too Much
Although ear specialists and doctors don’t dwell on the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and hearing damage, they claim that lifetime of drinking habit can lead people to hearing loss.
In a report written on the drinking and hearing loss, ear experts suggest that although excessive alcohol consumption may not directly damage the ears, it can negatively affect the certain nerves in the brain that process the sound. Simply put, excessive drinking can make a negative impact on the brain part that process sounds, thereby disrupting the hearing process.
Summary: while there is no link between moderate drinking and hearing loss, it is obvious that drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can lead people to the hearing disorders by affecting both the brain and the ears.
6-Neglected Oral Hygiene
You should be forgiven for not ever thinking that neglected oral hygiene sets the stage for hearing loss. Because it appears irrelevant at first nearly to everyone.
However, researchers and doctors suggest poor oral hygiene cause various health problems by allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. And, one of these diseases is hearing problems.
Bacteria that entered the bloodstream due to neglected oral hygiene hinder the blood circulation by causing inflammation. Insufficient blood circulation in the body damages hearing, as mentioned earlier.
Summary: Not only to prevent hearing problems, it is also important to implement good oral hygiene to avoid other health problems.
7- Loud Sounds
Almost all of us are familiar with the fact that loud noise/music/sound can damage hearing health.
Related to this, many mobile phone manufacturers added a feature on their mobile devices that warn users about the potential harms of listening to an audio or music loudly. And, It is not in vain at all.
Let’s go through the daily habits that can cause hearing loss due to excessive sound level.
One of the risks stems from the headphones. Especially young individuals tend to listen to loud music or audio using their headphones without being aware of the potential risks of it. However, music being too loudly is not the only danger. Experts emphasise that using headphones too long and too often as well are linked to hearing impairments.
Headphones have become an inseparable part of our lives. Therefore, we need to know how to use them in a way they don’t cause harm to the ears.
To avoid any potential hearing risk induced by headphones, experts recommend the 60/60 rule. That translates into; listen to music at 60% of the device’s maximum volume not more than 60 minutes a time.
While most of us are aware of the potential risk of listening to music too loudly, a few of us can realise the potential risks posed by cinema for the hearing health. Depending on the genre of the movie, particularly in action movies you can be exposed to noise beyond the safe hearing limit.
In a study, researchers measured the sound level of 25 different films at the cinema. As per results, researchers suggested that the sound level of many movies can be harmful to hearing, even though they don’t draw a definitive conclusion.
In addition to headphones and cinema halls, bars and clubs (wherever the party is held) too can pose a risk for hearing health given the sound level is ( most of the time ) beyond the safe sound limits.
In these places, music can be strong enough to prevent you from hearing the person next to you. This is, in fact, a strong indication of how badly your ears can get damaged in such environments.
While your ears can tolerate a couple of night in a month in an environment with loud music, doing this long years can substantially increase the risk of hearing damage.
Summary: Being constantly exposed to loud music/sound is definitely harmful to your hearing health.
Many of us tend to take our ear health for granted. However, unlike other organs, most of the ear problems can’t be reverted. Therefore, we need to take good care of our ears which allow us to hear our loved ones above all.
The way you live or some habits you have may cost your hearing loss later in life. Therefore, you need to consider eliminating or minimising the mistakes we discussed above for the sake of your hearing health.
In conclusion; visit your physician at least once in a year to ensure you have no ear problem.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.