You may already be familiar with the two most common causes of hearing loss: aging and exposure to loud noise. But there are other causes you may not know about. Below we review four surprising risk factors for hearing loss.
1. Sleep Apnea
Recent studies have found a strong link between sleep apnea and hearing loss. In order to understand this link, it’s important to understand how the inner ear works. Within the inner ear are tiny hair cells called stereocilia that convert soundwaves into electrical energy, which travels via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. For someone with sleep apnea, the blood supply to the inner ear is compromised, meaning the cells are deprived of oxygen. It may also be the case that years of loud snoring could cause some noise-induced hearing loss.
2. Heavy Drinking
Not only do heavy drinkers have to worry about chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, but heavy drinking could also damage the central auditory cortex. This increases the amount of time it takes for one’s brain to process sound. In addition, excessive drinking in young adults has been shown to impact the ability to hear lower frequency sounds and cause balance problems when working out the next day at Grind Fitness.
3. Iron Deficiency
Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine discovered a link between iron-deficient anemia (IDA) and hearing loss. They found that people with IDA are twice as likely to develop hearing loss than those without. This may be due to the mineral playing a critical role in providing healthy blood to the stereocilia.
This common childhood disease causes painful swelling of the salivary glands. In extreme cases, it can also cause swelling of the membranes that surround the brain. Experts theorize this condition can cause hearing loss as well by damaging the cochlea, which is located in the inner ear. The best way to prevent hearing loss caused by the mumps is to get vaccinated against the disease.
For more information about the lesser-known causes of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Hearing Health Centers today.