7 Habits That Are Damaging to Hearing Health

audiologist holding a diagram of ear and canal

Most people think that hearing loss is something you might naturally experience as you get older, or something that is just caused by exposure to loud noise or severe ear infections, but there are a few bad habits that can severely affect your hearing health.

In fact, chances are you have at least one habit that could potentially cause hearing loss. That might shock you, but if you take a look at the following seven habits that are damaging to hearing health, you will soon see why we have made that claim.

1. Eating an Unhealthy Diet

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional bag of chips or piece of cake, but if your diet consists of lots of junk food and very little in the way of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and oily fish, you could be putting your hearing health at risk. 

Like the rest of your body, your ears need specific nutrients to keep their cells nourished and enable them to work as efficiently as possible. Once hearing cells are damaged, they do not regenerate, so eating a diet high in zinc, magnesium and omega-3 is ideal.

2. Exposing Yourself to Loud Noises

This is probably the best-known bad habit that can cause hearing loss. It is also one of the most common causes of hearing loss, particularly in young people. Most people expose themselves to loud noises by using earphones too often and turning their music up too loud, if that sounds familiar, you should start by turning your tunes down and tasking regular earbud breaks.

If you are likely to be exposed to loud noises, whether they be at concerts or in the workplace, then wearing earplugs is also advisable.

3. Smoking

People who smoke are approximately 70% more likely to experience hearing loss in their lives. This is because nicotine can negatively affect the neurotransmitters in your ear which make it possible for you to hear. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can also cause damage to your DNA due to the free radicals that are released. So, as well as being a prime cause of cancer and heart disease smoking is one of the worst things for your hearing health too.

4. Going to the Movies

If you are a movie buff, you might want to be more mindful of your hearing health in the future. Research has shown that the average movie feature reaches around 94 decibels, which is well into the level that can cause hearing loss. That doesn’t mean you should give up going to the movies altogether, but if you find the noise uncomfortable, try using earplugs to lower the impact on your ears as best you can. Many people think that earplugs will block out any and all sounds, but you can buy ear protectors that will simply muffle the sound a little so that it is safer for you.

5. Using Cotton Swabs

If you are one of those people who use cotton swabs to extract wax from your ears, you are going to want to stop doing that right now. It’s so easy to slip or push too hard and further impact wax or even burst your eardrum. Use an ear-cleaning spray instead.

6. Drinking Excessively

Alcohol could have a negative impact on how well your brain is able to interpret sound. It is more common that it will make it difficult for you to hear low-frequency sounds, but your whole hearing can be affected.

This is because drinking to excess can cause toxicity in the inner ear, damaging the hair cells and it can affect the auditory cortex of the brain making it more difficult to process the sounds you hear too.

7. Not Visiting an Audiologist

If you do not take the time to get your hearing health checked out by an audiologist at least once a year, then you will be at an increased risk of hearing loss because you may not know you have an issue until it has progressed to an advanced stage. As with most health issues, the sooner you receive a diagnosis, the better your eventual outcome is likely to be.

How Many of These Habits Are Part of Your Everyday Life?

If you are worried about hearing loss and you want to talk it through with an experienced audiologist, get in touch with the team here at Desert Hearing Care by calling us today at 480-985-2544. Hearing health is our passion!