Many factors can increase a person’s risk of developing hearing loss. Some of the more commonly known causes include age, exposure to loud noise and genetics.
New research suggests that exposure to poor air quality may increase your risk for hearing loss as well.
Air Quality and Hearing Loss
A 2022 study compared data from over 15,000 adults in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Survey. Researchers found that exposure to air pollution with small ambient particles (PM10) was significantly associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.
They also discovered that regular exposure to air pollution with carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide also increased a person’s hearing loss risk.
What To Do
Unfortunately, air pollution is an issue that can only be thoroughly addressed at a global level. However, there are some small steps you can take to help minimize your risk, like investing in a high-quality air purifier for your home.
Additionally, you can regularly check the air quality levels in Omaha, Bellevue or wherever you reside. If it is of poorer quality on a specific day, it’s best to stay inside as much as possible and avoid any strenuous outdoor activities, like a run through Keystone Park.
Should You Get a Hearing Test?
Whatever the cause, the earlier hearing loss is diagnosed and you begin treatment, the better it will be for managing the condition.
If you are someone who is over 50 or works in a loud environment, such as a manufacturing plant or construction site, you should talk with your doctor about scheduling a hearing test, even if you haven’t noticed any issues, as you may be at a higher risk.
If you have noticed any of the following signs, schedule an appointment with an audiologist:
- You’re asking others to repeat themselves frequently
- Speech is hard to understand, especially in places with lots of background noise
- Phone conversations are hard to follow
- You experience tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- You need to turn up the volume louder on the TV or radio than you used to
If you have hearing loss, you and your audiologist will discuss treatment options, which most likely will include hearing aids. They will work with you to find the right model to best meet your hearing needs and one that matches your comfort and technology preferences.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Ear Specialists of Omaha & Bellevue today.