Aside from the odd infection and build-up of ear wax, it’s easy to view our ears as fairly simple organs.  Though many people don’t realise it, other parts of our bodies can have a direct impact on the state of our ears.

Here are three seemingly unrelated issues that are among the causes of hearing loss.

1.   Smoking

No surprise here.  If you’re a smoker, you regularly hear how bad it is for you from friends, family, doctors and even cigarette packets. Though the most glaring symptoms are in your respiratory and cardiovascular systems, smoking can also contribute to hearing loss.

Why is this so?

The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke are detrimental to your inner ear’s ability to transmit vibrations to your brain, and the more you smoke, the more damage you’ll cause to your ear.

The scary thing which you’ve probably heard a million times before is that second-hand smoke will have the exact same effects on those around you.

So here is just one more excellent, although not so obvious reason to quit!

2.   Overeating and Under-Exercising

Being overweight places you at risk of many different problems, from circulatory trouble to diabetes to heart problems.

Though many aren’t aware of it, all of these health issues have been linked to hearing loss. One 2013 study from the US Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women with higher body mass indexes were 17% more likely to experience some form of hearing loss.

The study also established that non-strenuous physical activity, such as walking for at least two hours per week, lowered the risk of weight-related hearing loss.

Of course, this is just one more way that body weight affects your health.  So no matter what your age, it’s never too late to establish some healthier lifestyle habits that will benefit your hearing in ways you may never have imagined!

3.   Not Having Regular Dental Check-Ups

Perhaps the most surprising habit that can lead to hearing loss is taking a blasé approach to your dental health.

When you don’t keep an eye on your pearly whites, it can allow harmful bacteria to get into the bloodstream, clogging and constricting the arteries that carry blood to the brain. This can cause interference in the way your brain receives signals from your auditory nerve.

Poor oral health can also increase your risk of heart problems, diabetes and stroke, which have all been linked with hearing loss.

Maintaining and Preserving the Health of Our Hearing

As we can see maintaining and preserving the health of our hearing extends to a lot more than cleaning our ears properly.  As with so much of our general health & well being, lifestyle habits can also have a major impact on the health of our hearing.

If you’d like to know more about how to protect your hearing, or if you’d like to have a hearing check-up, book an Appointment at Tami Mehl Audiology

Tami Mehl has more than 25 years of clinical experience, combined with an honour’s degree in Speech Therapy and Audiology from the University of the Witwatersrand, a Master’s degree in Communication Pathology and Audiology from the University of Pretoria and a Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida in the USA.

Tami Mehl Audiology offers you the best in patient-centered care plus the convenience of two practices; one in Illovo and the other in Bedfordview.

Both practices offer friendly staff members, a warm and collaborative atmosphere and, most importantly, a thorough service from Professional Audiologists and support team members.

The Audiologists at both practices are:

1.     Fully qualified with current clinical certificates;

2.     Registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa;

3.     Committed to regular Continuing Education programmes;

4.     Up to date with rapidly changing technology;

5.     Known for uncompromising clinical and ethical standards.

To book an appointment you can contact either the BEDFORDVIEW PRACTICE on 011 622 6314 – which is situated at Suite 10 Bedford Gardens Medical Suites, 3 Bradford Road, Bedford Gardens, Germiston or the ILLOVO PRACTICE on 011 268 0490 – which is situated at Block 1, Oxford Manor, 196 Oxford Rd, Illovo.

Tami Mehl Audiology is about Optimal Hearing and Optimal Balance


I was seen by Tami Mehl at my ripe old age of 85. It is an absolute pleasure to have dealt with someone who is so respectful and caring of us old folks. With her patience and understanding, she walked me through the hearing tests and sorted out the best hearing aids for my lifestyle. I would certainly recommend Tami to all of my friends. I cannot express my gratitude in how the hearing aids have enhanced my lifestyle.

Clive Black