Get ready for a surprise. You might think people who snore are the ones to somehow develop hearing problems while they’re fast asleep. It turns out that researchers have recently discovered it may be the bed partners of log sawers with the higher risk for hearing loss.
As part of a national study, researchers performed two types of hearing tests on healthy middle-aged adults with partners who snored. After analyzing the data, they found all four non-snoring partners had high-frequency hearing loss in the ear closest to their snoring mate.
Does loud snoring really have the volume to cause hearing damage? As a rule, sounds above 85 decibels have the potential to damage hearing, and snores as loud as 100 decibels have been recorded.
Partners of those who snore aren’t the only ones at risk. Snorers with ”sleep apnea,” a condition where they stop breathing for short periods throughout the night, can have problems. Sleep apnea can happen as frequently as 30 to 40 times every night. Along with other health issues, apnea is associated with a higher incidence of high and low-frequency hearing impairment.
Research has not determined how sleep apnea causes hearing damage, but some evidence points to injury to a structure in the inner ear called the cochlea. It’s the cochlea that holds the tiny hair cells that signals sound to the brain.
Do you or your bed partner have a habit of snoring at night? Get it evaluated to make sure it’s not sleep apnea. In addition, if you share a bed with a snoring partner, wear earplugs to block the sounds of snoring. Custom sleep plugs can be made personally for you that will fit comfortably and stay in all night long – and don’t forget to get your hearing checked by an audiologist.
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