As we grow older, many aspects of our body change. Muscle reduction and wrinkled skin are just two of the more common examples you may be familiar with. Additionally, it's no surprise that our hearing changes too. Although regular exercise and anti-ageing cream may slow down some processes, what can we do to stop hearing loss as we get older?
New research is suggesting it could be more than just turning your music down.
Look after your body and your ears
A study from the University Center Rotterdam analysed high- and low-frequency hearing loss of over 3,000 participants, aged between 52 – 991.
Age was the main factor associated with hearing loss. Researchers discovered that for every decade increase in age, hearing thresholds increased around five decibels for low-frequency hearing loss and 13 decibels for high frequency, in both men and women1.
However, the results collected also revealed that age was not the only factor contributing to hearing loss among older people.
2.6 million Australians smoke daily and although many understand the dangers to overall health that comes with this habit, the study found that smoking significantly affected hearing loss, too2 . It was revealed that in women, smoking contributed to both low- and high-frequency loss and for males, the latter1.
The chemicals from tobacco released upon inhaling build up on certain hearing receptors and immobilise the ability to hear certain noises as a result. 2
Body mass index (BMI)
The study also showed that a higher BMI was a contributing factor for a greater hearing loss in women1. A 20-year study from the American Journal of Medicine also found a correlation between BMI levels and auditory capabilities. Over 68,000 females were analysed during the study and in conclusion, they found that higher BMI and a larger waist circumference were two of the main factors associated with an increased risk of hearing loss3.
In men, it was discovered that alcohol consumption did contribute to greater hearing loss1. A study from Germany tested both heavy and social drinkers and the effect on the part of the brain which enables us to hear. The results found a distinct link between drinking alcohol and hearing loss4.
With one in six Australians living with hearing loss5 and 63 per cent of the population being overweight or obese6, it's never too late to make a change. Don't wait for it to get worse before seeking help. Request your FREE* hearing test with Western Hearing Services by clicking here, or to find out more give us a call on 1800 940 981.
1Karger, Contributing Determinants to Hearing Loss in Elderly Men and Women. Accessed June, 2017
2Department of Health, Tobacco Control key facts and figures. Accessed June, 2017
3AMJMed, BMI, Waist Circumference, Physical Activity, and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women. Accessed June, 2017
4hear-it.org, Alcohol can cause hearing loss. Accessed June, 2017
5HICA, About hearing loss. Accessed June, 2017
6AIHW, Overweight and obesity. Accessed June, 2017