The US. is in the midst of an opioid crisis as you’re likely aware. Overdoses are killing more than 130 people daily. There is a connection, which you may not have heard about, between drug and alcohol abuse and hearing loss.
According to new research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and carried out by a group at the University of Michigan, there’s a connection between alcohol and drug abuse and those under fifty who suffer from loss of hearing.
Approximately 86,000 individuals participated in the study and it was found that the younger the person, the stronger the connection. What causes the link to begin with, regrettably, is still not well understood.
Here’s what was found by this research:
- People who developed loss of hearing over fifty were not different from their peers when it comes to substance abuse rates.
- People who developed hearing loss when they were younger than fifty were at least two times as likely to misuse opioids as their peers. They were also generally more likely to abuse other things, such as alcohol.
- People were twice as likely to develop a general substance abuse problem than their peers if they got hearing loss between the ages of 35 and 49.
Hope and Solutions
Because scientists have already taken into consideration economics and class so those numbers are especially staggering. We need to do something about it, though, now that we have identified a connection. Well, that can be a problem without knowing the exact cause (remember: correlation is not causation). Researchers did have a couple of theories:
- Social isolation: It’s well established that hearing loss can lead to social isolation and cognitive decline. In situations like these, it’s common for people to self medicate, especially if the individual in question doesn’t really understand the cause–he or she may not even realizethat hearing loss is the issue.
- Higher blood pressure: It’s also true, of course, That blood pressure is raised by alcohol, sometimes to levels that are unhealthy. And both some pain killers and also high blood pressure have been shown to harm your hearing.
- Medications that are ototoxic: Hearing loss is known to be caused by these medications.
- Lack of communication: Getting people in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible is what emergency departments are designed to do. Sometimes they are in a rush, especially if there’s a life-threatening emergency waiting for them. In these situations, if patients aren’t capable of communicating very well, say they can’t hear questions or instructions from the staff, they might not get correct treatment. They may not hear dosage information or other medication directions.
Whether these incidents increase hearing loss, or those with hearing loss are more likely to have them, the negative repercussions to your health are the same.
Substance Abuse And Hearing Loss, How to Prevent it
The authors of the research recommend that doctors and emergency responders work very hard to make sure that their communication methods are up to date and being followed. It would be helpful if doctors were on the lookout for people with loss of hearing, in other words. We individuals don’t get help when we should and that would also be extremely helpful.
The following question need to be asked of your doctor:
- Is this drug addictive? Do I actually need it, or is there an alternative medicine available that is safer?
- Is this medication ototoxic? Are there alternatives?
If you are unsure of how a medication will affect your general health, what the risk are and how they should be taken, you should not take then home.
Additionally, if you believe you are suffering from hearing loss, don’t wait to get checked. If you ignore your hearing loss for only two years you will pay 26% more for your health care. So make an appointment now to have your hearing tested.