7 habits that can put your hearing at risk

Hearing loss is something natural and expected within the human aging process, but that does not mean that some habits and measures cannot be adopted to reduce the risk of hearing loss throughout life. Among the simplest measures are vaccination against some diseases and moderate the use of headphones, especially in-ear headphones.

It is worth remembering that the first signs of hearing loss can be easily identified, such as the habit of talking louder. Another indication is the need to increase the volume of the computer and the TV to be able to listen or even ask them to repeat what is spoken to you. At this point, it’s time to look for an expert.

Routine habits can put your hearing at risk and, in extreme cases, can cause deafness (Image: Jcomp/Freepik)

Deafness cases in the world

Worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 432 million adults and 34 million children have disabling hearing loss. In other words, hearing impairment affects more than 5% of the world’s population. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health estimates that the deaf constitute 3.2% of the population, which is equivalent to approximately 5.8 million Brazilians.

risk reduction

Despite the high incidence of the condition, the WHO explains that “many of the causes that lead to hearing loss can be avoided through public health strategies and clinical interventions implemented throughout life”. For example, in children, about 60% of hearing loss is due to preventable causes, that is, causes that can be prevented through different measures, such as vaccination against some diseases.

Next, check out 7 risky habits for your hearing and what you can do to avoid them:

1. Too much earphone

The exaggerated use of headphones can cause damage to hearing, especially for those who work with this equipment, such as telemarketing professionals. The recommendation is that the sound does not exceed 70 decibels. In a simpler way, it should be avoided that those who are close can hear the sound on the phone.

“If there is really no way to dispense with them, the ideal is to use them for the shortest possible time. Preferably, changing the in-ear headphones, that is, those that are inserted in the ear, for the shell-type models”, explains Michelle Oliveira, an otorhinolaryngologist at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), for the portal Drauzio Varella.

2. Constant exposure to noise

Earplugs should be worn by professionals who are heavily exposed to noise (Image: Duallogic/Envato Elements)

Overall, constant exposure to noise can affect your hearing health in the long term. Even some classes of professionals tend to suffer more from this type of hearing loss, such as those who work in construction, in beauty salons or in the party business. The best form of protection is to use ear protectors daily.

3. Use of “Swabs”

Flexible ears should not be used to clean the ears. “By doing this, the person is removing the wax. This substance is not dirt, but protection”, explains doctor Oliveira. In addition to removing the protective layer, another risk is pushing the wax inward and, with it, puncturing the tympanic membrane, which can have serious consequences for the patient.

4. Not getting vaccinated

Vaccines protect against diseases that can cause deafness, such as mumps (Image: Nearxiii/Freepik)

It may seem strange to talk about vaccination while pointing out reasons that can lead to hearing loss, but it makes perfect sense. After all, some diseases can leave serious sequelae on the patient, including hearing loss up to complete deafness. These are the cases of measles, rubella, mumps and meningitis, for example.

In Brazil, vaccines against all these diseases are available, free of charge, in the Unified Health System (SUS). Regardless, in recent years, vaccination rates have been falling in children. In 2021, coverage of the triple viral immunizer — which immunizes against measles, mumps and rubella — dropped again and reached 71.4%, which points to the risk of outbreaks and serious impacts on the lives of minors.

5. Beware of Infections and Colds

In addition to the “more serious” illnesses, some colds and flu can also impact hearing. So much so that it is common for someone with a cold to complain of earache, for example. This relationship does exist and can even be expected, since the nose has an internal communication with the ear. This allows inflammation from one to reach the other. The good part is that, in these cases, the hearing ability, when affected, tends to return.

6. Self-medication

Some drugs, such as antibiotics, can cause deafness as they are ototoxic (Image: Nadianb/Envato)

Self-medication can be quite risky for hearing. This is because there are some medications that are ototoxic, that is, they can cause deafness or tinnitus as a side effect, depending on the dose and duration of treatment. In extreme cases, the person can cause permanent deafness.

The point is that different drugs can be ototoxic, including some formulations considered common, such as antibiotics, high blood pressure drugs and even aspirin. Therefore, medical treatments should not be carried out without the support of a specialist.

7. Smoking

Finally, smoking increases the risk of accelerated hearing decline. To be more precise, those individuals who smoke were about 1.69 times more likely to have hearing loss compared to non-smokers, according to research by the American Medical Association (AMA), published in the scientific journal JAMA.

In addition, the authors caution that “non-smoking participants who lived with a smoker were more likely to have hearing loss than those who were not exposed to a family member who smoked.”

Source: Ministry of Health, WHO, Drauzio Varella, JAMA and Portal Otorrino

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She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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