Did you know permanent hearing loss is irreversible? That’s why it is critical to slow and avoid hearing loss any way possible.
Check out these tips to help you safeguard your hearing avoid future hearing loss.
- Turn it Down
We have entertainment at our fingertips: we can listen to music everywhere we go, at home we watch television and in the car we listen to the radio…on the way to a game, event or out to eat.
But is this constant stimulus good for us? The WHO reports more than 1 billion teens and young adults could be susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss because of audio devices.
We all love entertainment and music. A good rule of thumb to protect your hearing is to follow the 60/60 rule: when using earbuds or headphones, listen for 60 minutes per day or less at no more than 60% of the maximum volume.
If you can, opt for over-the-ear headphones instead of ear buds. Ear buds tend to expose the ear drum to direct sound waves, unlike over-the-ear headphones.
- Use Protection
We have a lot of noise in our environments. Constant exposure to loud noises like lawnmowers, concerts, fireworks, a noisy work setting, and loud tools can result in noise-induced hearing loss, even if only intermittently exposed. Environmental noise results in hearing loss in approximately 15% of American adults.
The easiest, most affordable way to prevent premature hearing loss due to noise exposure is to carry earplugs. Earplugs are small, cheap and effective for protecting hearing. You can buy them almost anywhere and keep them in the car or your pockets for when you need them. Customized earplugs are available for musicians and others who need to be able to hear conversations and music while reducing exposure to loud noises. If you think you may need custom earplugs, talk with your audiologist about options.
- Rest and Recover
When are exposed to very loud or prolonged noise (like a concert or club), try to take little breaks–step away from the noise several times to give your ears a rest.
The next day try to give your ears time to recover in silence and limit caffeine for the 24 hours following very loud noise exposure.
- No Cotton Swabs
Cotton swabs not recommended for cleaning the ears. Ear wax is an important biological tool to protect our ear canals. Ears clean themselves, and wax is necessary to prevent dirt, dust and bacteria from entering the ear canal and harming our brains. The eardrum is sensitive and can easily be punctured when anything is inserted into the ear.
If you think you have too much earwax, clean your ears with a damp towel or with an earwax softening solution. If you suspect an overproduction of wax, ask your audiologist to check it and advise next steps.
- No NSAIDs
NSAIDS, or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen), can cause hearing loss called ototoxicity. Ototoxicity is usually temporary but can become permanent if repeated, so avoid these medicines when possible.
- Don’t Stress
Hi stress can trigger tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Stress and anxiety both limit blood circulation, which contributes to tinnitus and other issues. Stress also makes the body tense and puts pressure on the nerves. Be mindful of your stress levels and take time every day to relax and de-stress. Think what you are thankful for: gratefulness is verified stress relief!
- Movement is Our Friend!
When you get your heart pumping, blood flow to your whole body improves, including your ears. Find activities that you enjoy: from walking to swimming or riding a bike. Your whole body (including your ears!) thrives on good circulation and oxygen flow.
- Stay Dry
When moisture gets trapped in your ears, Swimmer’s Ear and other infections can result, affecting hearing temporarily or even permanently. Each time your ears get wet, gently dry them with a towel. If you can still feel water or moisture, lay down on the affected side or tilt your head and pull gently on your ear lobe to coax it out naturally.
If you love to swim, consider swimming ear plugs that can help prevent water from getting trapped in your ear canals. For best results, ensure they fit well, or they will be ineffective. Ask your audiologist about swimming ear plugs if this is a concern for you.
- Test It
Annual hearing tests at your audiologist office are the best way to keep tabs on your hearing health. Hearing loss is progressive, and without yearly exams can easily go unnoticed until it has developed substantially. Regular screenings can help you catch hearing damage before it becomes noticeable.
Remember that the first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646