Hearing loss prevention

Hearing Loss Can be Linked to Smoking – Drinking

Matt DearingHearing, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss

Moderation is the key to everything. It balances your work, your personal life, and your health.

Indeed, moderation is a wise approach to bring to your life. We could all easily agree that when it comes to excessive cigarettes and alcohol the two will surely harm your health. But what are the effects of moderate smoking and drinking on hearing health?

Smoking and hearing loss

Two major studies from the past decade report that those who smoke or are around people who smoke are more likely to develop hearing loss.

The numbers don’t lie. A recent Japanese study examining the link found that people who smoked were more than half as likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss compared to nonsmokers. This is the type of hearing loss we often see as the beginning of age-related hearing loss. Often with this type of high-frequency hearing loss, speech is hard to decipher in noisy environments.

Moreover, smokers were also 20% more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss. Smoking has adverse effects on both ends of the frequency spectrum.

Why smoking harms hearing health

We know that smoking restricts blood flow, which may be why smokers have a higher chance of hearing loss. When the inner ear is deprived of healthy blood flow, the sensitive cells within are subject to damage. Those delicate cells are how sound makes it into your brain for processing in the first place; that’s how essential they are.

As they’re damaged, sound at either high or low frequencies is no longer received as they’ve become less sensitive. This results in sound distortion or the very beginning stages of hearing loss.

Drinking and hearing loss

Drinking, on the other hand, has less conclusive results. Heavy drinking damages overall health, which has no choice but to impact hearing health.

Studies have shown that high alcohol consumption can shrink the brain over time. This affects hearing health because so much of what we perceive as hearing happens in the brain, not the ear, via the auditory nerve connecting the two. Over time, damage to the auditory nerve is compounded, so even moderate-heavy drinkers might develop hearing loss due to drinking-related nerve damage.

Light drinking, however, may be suitable for your hearing. This is because red wine, consumed moderately, seems to improve cardiovascular health. Now, remember that healthy blood flow is essential for the delicate cells of the inner ear to remain in good shape and sensitive to all frequencies of sound. For this reason, enjoying a glass of red wine now and again might be an essential component of your healthy hearing regime!

Pick up healthier habits.

Chances are, like most people, you rely on cigarettes or alcohol to help you unwind. If you find yourself smoking or drinking excessively, it might be time to do some behavioral intervention. Ask yourself why you use these habits.

There are other options available! Begin to incorporate other, healthier habits into your life to see if you can ease some dependency on smoking and drinking. Yoga and meditation help people reduce stress and require minimal instruction. Tutorials and how-to’s for both can be found by the hundreds with a quick Google search.

When all else fails, a walk around the block and some focused breathing can calm the nervous system quickly and without external stimulants.

Addiction demands help

Of course, if you feel your smoking and drinking use goes beyond healthy use and into addiction, it’s best to check in with a professional. Managing addiction is not a job anyone should shoulder alone, so enlist a supportive team! Deciding to deal with addiction instead of continuing to live under its thrall is powerful. Imagine what there will be room for in your life after you’ve made the profound decision to quit.

Remember that you are never alone. Someone has already done this, someone is doing this alongside you, and someone will decide to conquer their addiction in the future. Joining a support group is one way to contact people who’ve been where you are and can tell you about the better life waiting on the other side.

Come and see us for a test.

If you are concerned about your hearing abilities or want to schedule an annual hearing test, contact us today. Our team of professionals is here to support you on the journey to better hearing health.