Discussions on health often focus on nutrition, good sleep, and regular exercise. This is essential, as they provide adequate fuel for your body as you perform your daily duties. However, a conversation less discussed is how your health impacts your hearing. Losing your auditory functions can profoundly impact your daily activities, social interactions, and overall quality of life. With over 1.5 billion people worldwide living with hearing loss in at least one ear, there is a great need to take better care of your health. Here are four ways your health impacts your hearing.
Your cardiovascular system, which includes your heart and blood vessels, is critical in delivering oxygen to your body. It is also responsible for carrying nutrients to the rest of your system, including the tiny blood vessels in your ears. Therefore, any condition that affects your cardiovascular health can negatively affect your hearing. Medical research has found that persons with cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis have a higher risk of hearing loss. That is because reduced blood flow and damage to blood vessels affect the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to the cochlea. This organ is essential to the inner ear because it converts sound vibrations into electrical signals. Therefore, when your cardiovascular system is troubled, there is a high risk of an effect on the cochlear. Fortunately, by maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and properly managing conditions like hypertension and diabetes, you can drastically reduce the risk of hearing loss. You can start by exercising at least thirty minutes daily, whether walking briskly, running or any other physical activity that will benefit your heart.
Aside from the many negative effects of diabetes, this condition can harm your auditory system when poorly managed. You are more prone to experiencing hearing loss compared to people who do not have diabetes. Science is still trying to find the exact mechanisms behind this association, but it is believed that diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear. What makes it even more concerning is that you never know the extent of hearing damage until it becomes irreversible. That is why you must prioritize regular hearing screenings to detect early signs of hearing impairment. More importantly, if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, it would greatly help if you modified your lifestyle to improve your quality of life.
Glands in the ear canal produce earwax. Also known as cerumen, it is a protective barrier to trap dust, debris, and bacteria. This function prevents these foreign items from reaching the delicate structures of the inner ear. However, sometimes certain factors may cause an excessive earwax buildup and, if left unattended, could lead to hearing loss.
When earwax hardens, it blocks the ear canal and stops sound transmission. Although the effect on your hearing may be temporary, it can cause significant discomfort. Professional earwax removal is an effective solution to address this. It is usually done by a trained healthcare professional because the earwax must be safely and gently removed using specialized tools and techniques. The delicate care employed to remove the buildup ensures that your hearing is not further compromised. Moreover, the risk of damage to the ear canal or eardrum makes it all the more important for professional removal. It would be best to know that attempting to remove excess earwax buildup yourself is unsafe.
Certain medications, known in medical circles as ototoxic drugs, can damage the inner ear’s structures and result in hearing loss. Sometimes, they may trigger tinnitus – a ringing, buzzing, or whooshing phantom sound in the ears. These medications include certain antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), chemotherapy drugs, and diuretics. It’s worth noting that these medications react differently in everyone who takes them. Therefore, not everybody will experience hearing-related side effects. If you are on medications known as ototoxic, it is in your interest to discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider. The latter may recommend monitoring your hearing through regular audiograms. Another option is to adjust the dosage or switch to alternative medications if necessary. Prompt awareness and action can reduce your risk of drug-induced hearing loss.
The points above provide insight into how your health can significantly impact your hearing functions. It is, therefore, essential to prioritize your ear health. Remember to go for regular checkups to ensure everything is in good condition and pick up any issues where necessary so you can get early treatment.