When we think of hearing loss and issues with hearing, we usually associate this with advanced age or an underlying condition involving the ears. Deafness happens when people lose their hearing function, whether partially or entirely. Loss of hearing function can significantly decrease the quality of life, which is why it is essential to arrest any issues that may bring it about.
There are many causes of hearing loss. Impairment may be caused by direct injury, an infection, or a congenital disability involving the inner ear or its nerves. It is surprising to realize that there is a connection between our ability to hear and how well we look after our teeth.
How oral health affects hearing
Poor oral hygiene poses several threats to your overall wellbeing. Gum disease, tooth decay, or other infections in the mouth can be linked to other health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. When our mouths are left unchecked without regular tooth and gum cleaning, we risk the overgrowth of bacteria that cause infections. These infections overwhelm our immune system and make us susceptible to complications.
One of the areas most likely to be directly affected by our oral health is our ears. It is because of the mouth and jaw’s close position to our ears that complications with oral health may directly endanger our ability to hear. Inflammations in gums and tissue around our mouth may cause arteries to constrict, resulting in reduced blood flow to the vessels in our ears. Tinnitus, which is the “hearing” of ringing, buzzing, or humming when there is no actual sound present, can also point to the possibility of a circulatory disorder.
Certain oral and periodontal diseases may cause people to manage pain with analgesics, ibuprofen, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The use of these over-the-counter pain medications is linked to hearing loss. The longer and more frequently they are used to relieve pain symptoms, the higher the risk for developing hearing loss, particularly in women. To preserve hearing function, it is crucial to prevent or immediately resolve any oral health conditions requiring medications like these.
Preventing hearing impairment
Taking care of your teeth should involve regular brushing, flossing, and gargling with mouthwash. A good oral health routine should be established from a young age and continued into adulthood. Avoiding smoking and consuming large amounts of sugary food. Schedule regular visits to your dental specialist to prevent any issues or complications arising from oral health conditions, especially ones that require you to take analgesics and
It is important to note that aside from good brushing habits, there are other ways you can protect your ears from impairment. Avoid listening to music at high volumes, and protect your ears when you are in areas where you will be exposed to loud noises. If you are frequently exposed to high levels of noise due to your work, such as in construction sites, music studios, sports events, for example, consider wearing protective earplugs to lessen the pressure on your eardrums.
What to do when you experience symptoms of hearing loss
If you notice symptoms of hearing impairment or experience discomfort in the areas around your ear, you should schedule a hearing test. A hearing test can detect signs of decreased function in your inner ear. The earlier these issues are detected, the more likely they can be treated.
Products that can help
If a specialist has assessed you, they may recommend fitting you with hearing aids to cope with the loss of function. Hearing aids are fitted specially to your level of impairment and can drastically increase your ability to hear.
Temporary hearing loss due to an underlying condition can be resolved, but generally, it is not always possible to reverse the effects of hearing loss. Prevention through preserving oral health as well as overall wellbeing is the key to safeguarding our ears’ function.
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