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Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2014

Your Aging Ears

Girl with hand to ear listens to hear about her aging ears.

Different lifestyle factors can lead to premature aging of the ear. In addition to modern technologies like earbuds and MP3 players, there are medications that people take, dietary considerations, where your work, and other health conditions like diabetes that can affect how your ears age. Knowing all of these can help you determine hold old your ears are and keep your ears from aging prematurely.

How Loud Do You Like It?
There are no warning lights that begin flashing when you turn the volume too high on your MP3 player, television, or computer, but maybe there should be. Loud sound damages hearing. If you listen to your electronic devices, through earbuds, at close to the maximum loudness, you are damaging your hearing. Making sure that you keep your electronic devices at a level that won't damage the delicate hairs within your inner ear is one way to help your ears age gracefully.

An impressive visual image has been made by the U.S. government in an attempt to convey the gravity of loud noise on hearing. Learn More

How Long Do You Listen?
It's not only about how loud you listen to your music, but how long you listen to it at high levels. Listening to music for too long at high levels can damage the small delicate hairs of the inner ear causing permanent hearing loss. Try varying the amount of time you listen with earbuds in along with how loud you listen to songs. This can help keep your ears from aging prematurely.

What's in Your Diet?
Diets high in carbohydrates and sugars have been shown to increase the likelihood of hearing loss.
It turns out, maybe not surprisingly, that what we eat can have long-term consequences for our hearing. An Australian study reported on in the Journal of Nutrition, has shown that diets high in sugar and carbohydrates detrimentally impacts hearing. A similar study showed that diets high in cholesterol also contribute to hearing loss normally associated with aging. Learn More

Where Do You Work?
According to the Center for Disease Control, “30 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise on the job and an additional nine million are at risk for hearing loss from other agents such as solvents and metals.” Hearing loss at work can result both from harmful noise levels and from exposure to dangerous chemicals. Preserving hearing in these situations can be as simple as wearing hearing protection. Learn More

Carpenters are exposed to dangerously loud noise levels, so it's no surprise that a man of twenty--who works in this field--could have the hearing of a fifty year old. Learn More

Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Diabetes can cause hearing loss. The same glucose overload that destroys other parts of the body can and does diminish an individual's hearing. According to a study conducted under the National Institute of Health (NIH) by Bainbridge et al. and reported on in the Annals of Internal Medicine, hearing loss is more than twice as likely among diabetics and it's not just older diabetics at risk.

Ototoxicity and Hearing Loss
There are hundreds of medications, including over the counter, which can cause hearing loss. In many cases, hearing loss is thought to be the lesser of two evils—as in the case of using chemotherapy to treat cancer which can result in up to 84% of patients having damaged hearing. But new studies reveal certain medications can treat conditions without damaging hearing, so it is no longer considered necessary to temporarily impair or permanently destroy someone’s hearing to relieve a condition or even to save their lives. Learn More

How Often Do You Check Your Ears?
Good hearing health is the best way to keep your ears functioning at their top, most youthful. Many people don't get annual hearing tests and that's part of the reason hearing loss goes untreated. Treating hearing loss with hearing aids used to be seen as a sign of aging, but the truth his that people who don't treat their hearing loss appear more "out of it" and older than those who do. In addition, the stress of untreated hearing loss may give rise to other conditions that can age people, like depression, Alzheimer's, or dementia.
Find out more about how you can keep your ears acting like they did in their twenties by visiting your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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