Think you know everything there is to know about hearing loss? You might be surprised. Here are five facts everyone should know about hearing loss, its effects and its prevalence:

1. Untreated hearing loss can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s easy to understand how hearing problems can have an impact on your ability to communicate, and that in turn can cause you to become depressed and socially isolated. But recent research shows that in addition to these issues, people with untreated hearing loss are also at an increased risk for developing cognitive dysfunction including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Research from Johns Hopkins University also revealed how untreated hearing loss can actually cause areas of the brain to lose tissue mass, suggesting multiple links with untreated hearing problems and brain health.

2. Your medicine may be causing your hearing loss.

Medication plays an important part in maintaining health in people with chronic diseases like high blood pressure, but research shows taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and acetaminophen on a daily basis can contribute to hearing loss. Research shows men aged 50 years and under are especially vulnerable. Other medications like chemotherapy drugs, intravenous antibiotics and even Viagra can also cause hearing loss.

3. Some types of hearing loss can be prevented.

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss, and it’s also one that can be prevented. The key is to provide your ears with plenty of protection when you’re in loud environments, like concerts or sporting events, or when using construction equipment, powered lawn tools or firearms. Headphones and earplugs are both helpful in protecting your eardrums, nerve cells and other structures of the ear from becoming damaged by an onrush of large sound waves.

4. Being watchful of weight and more physically active could reduce your risk of hearing loss.

study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found women with a higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference were more likely to have hearing loss, and those who walked regularly had a lower risk of hearing problems.

5. You may not know you have a hearing loss.

For most people, hearing loss occurs slowly over time, which means the signs can be subtle and hard to detect. As a result, its easy to overlook symptoms or to blame your inability to hear conversations on others – “You always mumble” or “You speak so softly!” The fact is, about 40 million adults suffer from hearing loss in the U.S., and the risk of developing hearing loss increases substantially with age. That’s why having a hearing test performed on a regular basis is critical to maintaining optimal hearing and optimal health.

How’s your hearing? Schedule a free hearing test to find out.

We offer free hearing tests and personal consultations, helping people get the care they need so they can enjoy better hearing and reduce their risks for other medical issues. Each of our locations is staffed by skilled, compassionate hearing professionals dedicated to helping each person find the right solution for their hearing problem. Schedule your free hearing test today. Visit our location page to contact us.