January 24, 2021

Welcome to 2021! Our world is very different since we welcomed the last New Year, but some things never change. It’s still important to take steps to prevent hearing loss however we can. Let’s start 2021 off right with a few tips to help you protect your hearing now.

1. Turn it Down!

Everywhere we go, entertainment follows: music in our earbuds, TV at home and radio in the car… on the way to a crowded restaurant, movie theater with deafening surround sound, or a raucous ball game.

As a result, many people have developed some measure of hearing loss: even teens and young adults!

Many people enjoy listening to music and entertainment throughout the day. A simple precaution can help protect your hearing: follow the 60-60 rule which recommends listening with headphones or earbuds no more than one hour (60 minutes) daily at a maximum of 60% volume.

If possible, opt for headphones that fit over your ears in place of ear buds, because they expose the ear drum to more indirect sound waves.

2. Cover Them Up!

Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common type, and it is caused by loud or prolonged noise in our environments. Loud tools, factory work settings, concerts, movie theaters and sporting events can all put you on a progressive path to hearing loss even if we are only sporadically exposed.

Environmental noise results tin hearing loss in about 15% of Americans. The ood news is that noise induced hearing loss is easily preventable. Earplugs are one great way to protect your hearing: they are small, cheap, and effective. You can find them for a few dollars at almost any local grocery or drug store. Specialty hearing aids can be custom-made for musicians and other professionals which protect hearing while allowing them to hear music or conversations. Ask your audiologist if custom ear plugs may be right for you.

3. Take Time to Recover

While at a loud event, try to step away for 5 minutes every so often to allow your ears to rest. After a wild, noisy evening, give your ears at least 16 hours of quiet to recuperate and try to limit caffeine during that time as well.

4. Cut Out the Cotton (Swabs)

Cotton swabs are generally not advised for cleaning the ears. First of all, ear wax is beneficial and effective for guarding our ear canals. Did you know ears clean themselves, and that ear wax plays an important role in that? It is “sticky,” and grabs on to dust, bacteria and dirt so it can’t enter the ear canal and get to our brains.

When we insert any object into the ear, we risk damaging or puncturing our ear drums. Ear wax should naturally move down the path of the ear canal with the motions our jaws when we chew or talk, so it’s really not necessary to clean the inner ear canal at all: simply wiping out the outer canal with a towel or a damp cloth should suffice.

Rarely, a person may have an overproduction of wax. If you think that’s the case, ask your audiologist to check it out.

5. Say No to Drugs!

NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are over the counter medicines for pain and inflammation. These drugs, which include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, are ototoxic, which means they can cause temporary hearing loss. While this hearing loss is usually temporary, over time this hearing loss can become permanent, so take them sparingly.

6. Don’t Stress!

Anxiety and high levels of stress can trigger tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Anxiety and stress tense up the body and put pressure on the nerves, which limit blood flow. Take every opportunity to relax and decompress. One way to relieve stress is to think about what you have: gratefulness is excellent stress relief!

7. Move Around!

Any movement that your heart pumping improves circulation to your whole body, including your ears. Take a walk or a jog around the neighborhood, ride a bike on a local trail or hit the gym for an hour a few times a week. Our inner ears are dependent on healthy circulation and oxygen. Keeping good circulation will help all the parts of your ears (and everything else) to perform properly.

8. Keep Them Dry!

Moisture trapped in the ear can cause infections like swimmer’s ear. Infections can affect hearing ability either temporarily or even permanently. After you swim or bathe, gently dry your ears with a towel. If you can still feel moisture or water in your ears, lay down on one side or tilt your head and pull gently on your ear lobe to let the water drain easily.

Ear plugs designed specifically for swimming are also great to prevent water from getting trapped in the ear canal. Ensure the ear plugs fit well, or moisture can still seep in and get stuck in your ear canal. If you do a lot of swimming, it’s a good idea to ask your audiologist about swimming ear plugs.

9. Get Them Tested!

Yearly screenings crucial to hearing health and the prevention of hearing loss. Hearing damage is progressive, and often is neglected until it has progressed substantially. With routine tests, you can find hearing loss before you notice it yourself and can often avoid additional loss.

We’ve served San Jose and the Bay Area for over 40 years, providing the right solution for Your Life. Your Style.

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

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