03 October 2016

Work, lifestyle and leisure activities may affect your hearing

Your work, your lifestyle and your leisure activities can result in a hearing loss. Some professions increase your risk of hearing loss by five times. Even an unborn child can have increased risk of hearing loss due to work noise.

Work may damage your ears

Workers exposed to occupational noise have an up to five times higher risk of hearing problems and tinnitus. A number of professions that can put you at serious risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Working as airport ground control staff is the absolute worst job for your ears as the noises from planes landing and taking off can measure up to a whopping 140dB. Working as either a miner, builder or carpenter is also putting you at serious risk of noise-induced hearing loss as the noises from heavy machinery or power tools is an unavoidable part of the job.

Lifestyle and hearing problems

Being obese as an adult may have a negative effect on hearing function and especially the ability to hear high frequencies. Several other lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol may also impact ones risk of hearing problems. A study indicates that current smokers have a 15% higher risk of hearing loss than non-smokers. Other studies have shown that high alcohol consumption over a long period of time can result in damage to the central cortex of the brain. This can make the brain unable to process sounds and may ultimately result in hearing loss.

Leisure activities put your hearing at risk

It is not only your work or your lifestyle that can put you at risk of hearing problems – your leisure activities may also increase the risk of damaging your hearing. As an example, the music at fitness classes often reaches unsafe levels blaring anywhere from 100 to 115 dB with spinning classes among the worst offenders. People who often participate in leisure activities with average noise levels above 90 dB increase their risk of suffering hearing loss by 10%, according to a study.

Noise exposure during pregnancy

Even before a child is born there is a risk of it being born with hearing problems due to noise exposure. A Swedish study has shown that noise exposure during pregnancy can damage the unborn child’s hearing, with an up to 80% increased risk in noisy occupational environments.


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