What Can You do to Prevent Your Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is a condition that affects more than forty million Americans. Interestingly, though, it isn’t something that just happens because of aging. In many cases, it is something that you can prevent.
Are you concerned that you might lose your hearing? Do you worry that your hearing loss may get worse over time?
Limit the number of loud noises in your life
Aside from aging, the primary cause of hearing loss is exposure to loud noises. Unfortunately, loud sounds are part and parcel of modern life. It is something that you can’t avoid entirely. Police sirens and pneumatic drills are a fixture of the modern sound environment.
With that said, there is quite a bit that you can do to mitigate your risk. The severity of your hearing loss is a function of the loudness and duration of the sound. While your ears can recover from the occasional loud noise, persistently exposing them to sounds greater than 85 dB is dangerous.
For many people, loud music played through headphones is the biggest culprit. Cranking up the volume can expose the ears to noises above 85 dB – and for a long time. Turn the volume down on your music devices.
Wear hearing protection
You don’t, of course, have to expose yourself to loud noises in your environment unprotected. If you go to a venue playing loud music, like a rock concert, you can wear hearing protection. These are devices that cover your ears and take some of the damaging energy out of sound waves.
In general, there are two types of hearing protection – earmuffs that you wear over your ears like headphones. And earplugs that you insert into the ear canal. Earplugs tend to be more effective than earmuffs, but typically the difference is negligible.
Please note, though, that earplugs and earmuffs do not guarantee that you’ll protect your ears. Typically, they offer between 15-30 dB sound reduction, which won’t be enough if the noise is more than 100 to 115 dB.
Remove excess earwax regularly
Our ears naturally produce wax to clean themselves and prevent contamination. Sometimes though, they can create too much, thus blocking the ear canal and impairing hearing.
If you think that wax might be blocking your ear, then you should try to remove it. Not being able to hear can decrease your ability to interpret sounds, even once you remove the wax. The brain's auditory center receives less stimulation and becomes less sensitive to noises over time.
When trying to remove earwax, don’t use cotton buds. These can push the wax further into the ear and cause it to compact, making it harder to remove. Instead, go to your local pharmacist and buy an over-the-counter solution, such as ear drops.
If you’re still struggling to remove the wax, go to your audiologist. They have special equipment that they use to identify and remove wax on the eardrum.
The damaging effects of smoking are almost universal. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it leads to hearing loss too.
The ears rely on a regular supply of blood to keep their delicate structures functioning. Smoking, however, damages capillaries around the body, including those that feed the inner ear. When that happens, the whole apparatus starts to fail.
If you smoke right now, investigate how to quit. Where possible, try to avoid inhaling smoke second hand.
Be proactive in reducing sounds in your environment
When it comes to controlling loud noises, you have more power than you might think. If you notice that the sound is too loud in a particular venue, like a gym or restaurant, you can ask the manager to turn the music down.
Most businesses want to ensure that their customers keep coming through the doors. If that means that they need to turn down the music, then they will do it.
Avoiding all loud noises throughout your life probably isn’t practical. Still, there are numerous strategies that you can put in place to mitigate the risk. Adopting a combination of these tips should make a material difference.
Remember, though; not all hearing loss is avoidable because of aging, so you need to get your ears tested regularly.
If you want to learn more about Independence Hearing and how we can help you prevent and manage hearing loss, call us at 772-210-1800.