Although senior citizens are in the age group representing the highest risk for hearing loss, a startling prevalence of hearing loss in younger people is noted in a World Health Organization (WHO) report. The report estimated that approximately 1.1 billion teens and young adults are suffering from varying degrees of hearing loss due to frequent or prolonged exposure to loud noise from personal listening devices and noisy entertainment venues. As part of my effort to help prevent any further damage from hearing loss, here are ten easy tips for preserving your hearing.
1. Avoid Exposure to Loud and Prolonged Noise
A loud noise, such as an explosion or the firing of a weapon, can cause damage to your hearing. Just as likely, if not more so, harm can also come from moderately loud noise over a prolonged period. Avoiding these situations will help prevent hearing loss from noise damage.
2. Use Noise Protection
Those who cannot prevent extreme noise levels or prolonged moderate noise levels for various cultural, environmental, or occupational reasons can avoid damaging hearing loss by wearing noise protection. A wide variety of earplugs, ear molds, noise-canceling headphones, earmuffs, and wadding products are available to fit specific circumstances.
3. Protect Your Ears
Prolonged exposure to sub-zero weather is another common cause of hearing loss, as are traumatic injuries from sports and dangerous occupations. Protect your ears by keeping them warm and/or using proper headgear for sports and occupational activities.
4. Maintain Optimal Overall Health
Inflammation, infections, and the use of ototoxic drugs (prescription or non-prescription) are some of the overall health problems that can damage your hearing. Maintaining a lifestyle that avoids poor nutrition, smoking, illicit drugs, high levels of stress, and prolonged inactivity dramatically reduces the risk of health conditions that can damage hearing.
5. Be Conscious of Your Family History
Various types of hearing loss are a result of genetics. Knowing your family history concerning hearing loss allows audiologists to provide early intervention and treatment before hearing loss takes a more dramatic toll.
6. Know the Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
Early detection and treatment are among the best ways to head off hearing damage. Become familiar with the warning signs of hearing loss and schedule an assessment with an audiologist if you are experiencing any of them.
7. Listen to Friends and Family
Friends and family will often recognize that you have a hearing problem before you do. Untreated hearing loss continues to cause irreversible damage. Listen to family and friends when they begin to notice that you are struggling with your hearing.
8. Regular Hearing Checkups
Whether you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a hearing loss or not, you should develop a habit of having regular (annual) hearing checkups to establish a hearing capacity baseline. From this baseline, audiologists can quickly identify and intervene in minor hearing loss issues before they become significant issues.
9. Follow the Advice of Your Audiologist
It accomplishes nothing to have regular checkups with an audiologist but then refuses to follow their advice. Audiologists often recommend various lifestyle changes or protective measures to prevent hearing damage. If you follow their help, you can head off damage before it gets worse.
10. Use Your Hearing Aid
Hearing aids not only allow you to hear better, but they also have a significant impact on your overall health as well. Your audiologist has fitted you with a hearing aid to improve your overall health and prevent added damage to your hearing. So, use your hearing aid.
I take stock in the adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The team at Berkeley Hearing Center, and I want to encourage you to continue to be aware of the various ways to prevent hearing loss and make a commitment to following these ten tips. Contact us for more advice about avoiding hearing loss, or request a callback by a Berkeley Hearing Center specialist to have your questions answered or to book an appointment.