However, scientists now speculate that exposure to excessive sunlight may also negatively affect your hearing. While excessive exposure to UV rays is known to cause cancer and other damaging conditions, hearing loss is one of the latest conditions that may be linked to sun damage.

Here is an overview of how excessive sun exposure causes hearing loss and how you can protect yourself from permanent damage.

The Link Between Hearing Loss and Sun Exposure

Scientists have long since understood that oxidative stress damages health and ultimately causes the body to age faster.

In simple terms, oxidative stress is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. While free radicals are necessary to fight infections, they may also begin to break down fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body if they are not properly balanced with antioxidants. 

As free radicals break down your body, this causes you to age faster.

Unfortunately, excessive exposure to UV rays found in harsh sunlight can increase oxidative stress. Therefore, scientists began to speculate that excessive sun exposure may be linked to age-related hearing loss.

A group of researchers in Japan decided to put the hypothesis to the test and studied 800 plus citizens over the age of 65. To collect data, they analyzed their facial skin condition with image analysis of standardized facial images. They used audiometric tests to measure hearing impairment.

Ultimately, the results showed that there was a correlation between hearing loss and excessive sun exposure.

How to Protect Yourself From The Sun

An estimated one in three Americans report experiencing sunburn each year, and it’s easily avoidable.

Here are just a few things you can do to protect yourself from the sun and avoid oxidative stress:

  • Wear a hat
  • Apply ample sunscreen
  • Avoid using tanning salons
  • Do outdoor activities early morning and late in the evening 

While most people are concerned about sunburn in the summer, it can also happen in the winter. In fact, snow magnifies the impact of UV rays and is even more dangerous.

Therefore, be sure to protect yourself year round. 

If you fear that you have been sunburned, counter it by consuming plenty of antioxidants to maintain the balance of free radicals and antioxidants. For example, get plenty of exercise, consume fruits and vegetables and get plenty of sleep. 

You can also apply Aloe vera gel to your sunburn, which will help increase antioxidants (such as vitamin A, B, and C) and neutralize the free radicals in your body. If you’re worried about your sunburn, you can also ask your doctor for additional advice.

Final Thoughts

While excessive sun exposure can lead to a host of issues, including skin cancer, the threat of hearing loss is often overlooked.

Therefore, if you want to avoid aging faster and preserve your hearing, apply sunscreen, wear a hat and follow the other recommended guidelines above. If you’d like to speak with a specialist about the effects of sun exposure on hearing loss, reach out to our audiologists today.