You’ve likely heard that older age and noise exposure can lead to hearing loss. You’ve probably also heard that sun exposure can cause cancer and other damaging conditions. But did you know that excessive sun exposure and hearing loss are also linked? We review the connection below.
What the Research Shows
A Japanese study of 805 people ages 65 and older examined the relationship between sun exposure and hearing ability. The researchers analyzed the participants’ facial skin condition with image analysis of standardized facial images and also used audiometric tests to measure hearing impairment. They found a correlation between excessive skin exposure and hearing loss.
Why the Link?
A condition known as oxidative stress damages health and causes the body to age more rapidly. Excessive exposure to UV rays found in harsh sunlight can increase oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. Free radicals are necessary to fight infections, but they also break down fatty tissue, DNA and proteins in your body when not balanced with antioxidants. As free radicals break down your body, you age faster, including your hearing ability.
How to Protect Yourself from the Sun & Preserve Your Hearing
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated one in three Americans reports getting sunburnt each year. Sunburns are a clear sign of overexposure to UV rays, which is a major cause of skin cancer.
You can protect yourself from UV rays by:
- Wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat.
- Applying sunscreen of at least 30 SPF daily, reapplying regularly when spending time outdoors, even if it’s cloudy.
- Avoiding tanning salons.
- Doing outdoor activities early in the morning and late in the evening.
If you do get sunburnt when spending time at Atlanta Botanical Garden, consume plenty of antioxidants to maintain balance. For example, you should eat fruits and vegetables, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly. You can also apply aloe vera gel to your sunburn to help increase antioxidants and neutralize free radicals in your body.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call The ENT Center of Central Georgia today.