Healthy Living

Listen Up! These Bad Habits Could Harm Your Hearing

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Many of us are guilty of one or more bad habits, even though we know they may be harmful to our health. Sitting in front of the TV all day can open us up to obesity and poor heart health, for example, and a diet of sugary sweet items can also result in the same.

Chances are, you might be guilty of a few bad habits yourself. We will list a few of them below, and you might well relate to them. And here’s a news flash – the ones we list could also harm your hearing. 

So, to look after your hearing better, take heed of the following. If you relate to what we say, you now have another incentive to give up your worst habits. 

Habit #1: Smoking

Smoking’s bad for you! That’s a fact that won’t surprise you, but you may not have realized this habit’s impact on your hearing. The nicotine from the cigarettes you smoke can restrict blood flow to your ears, and because of this, there is the potential for damage to your delicate ear cells. As they become damaged, your ability to hear diminishes.

Exposure to cigarette smoke can also cause damage, and this is discussed in the article at Healthy Hearing. It’s not only harmful to your hearing, as second-hand smoke can also cause damage to the ears of the people around you.  

Habit  #2: Cleaning/not cleaning your ears

Sorry for the conflicted heading, but there are two points to make here. 

Firstly, be mindful when cleaning your ears. If you habitually stuff cotton buds in your ears in an attempt to clean them, you could burst your eardrum. The same applies if you stick your fingers in there too. In theory, you shouldn’t have to clean your ears, as they have the potential to self-clean, so stop fiddling around in there. 

Still, earwax can build-up, so not cleaning your ears can also be detrimental to your hearing health. However, you should see your doctor for advice before attempting any DIY methods to clean your ears, as they will be able to syringe your ears for you. 

At this point, we would like to mention hearing aids too. If you do have to wear them, follow this advice on cleaning your hearing aids. The bacteria on them could cause an ear infection, and this could inhibit your hearing. So, don’t fall into the habit of not cleaning them regularly.

Habit #3: Turning up the volume on your headphones

Whether you’re listening to music or using your headphones when watching a film or playing a video game, be sure to turn the sound down. Many of us habitually have the volume up high to maximize what we are listening to, but by doing so, we are potentially putting our hearing at risk. Experts say sound levels should be kept to between 60-85 decibels. This can be hard to determine, we know, although Headphonesty lists a few simple ways to check if your headphones are too loud.

Habit #4: Drinking excessively

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You already know that excessive drinking could lead to liver damage, but did you know one tipple too many could lead to hearing loss too? 

Experts have found drinking excessively can damage the auditory cortex in your brain, and this can affect the way you hear (or don’t hear) sounds. As stated here, excessive drinking can also cause a toxic environment within your inner ear. This could lead to permanent damage to the workings of your ear and you might then start to experience hearing loss. 

Think twice before reaching for the bottle then. Instead, consider non-alcoholic options, and seek help from your doctor if you suspect you might have a problem with drinking. 

Habit #5: Eating and drinking sugary treats

To protect your teeth, you already understand the importance of avoiding too many sugary items You will understand the importance of brushing your teeth too. By doing both, your mouth will be free from the bacteria that could harm your oral health. So, what has that got to do with your hearing? Well, when oral bacteria enters your bloodstream, it can cause inflammation and narrowing of your arteries. This then leads to poor blood circulation to your ear, leaving you susceptible to hearing loss. 

Our advice? Cut back on the sugary treats, and brush your teeth regularly throughout the day to fight bacteria. 


So, are you guilty of any of these bad habits? Kick them into touch if so, and seek help from a professional if you need help in any way. The sooner you do, the better your hearing health will be.  

Karla Urwitz
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