Hearing loss is common, particularly as we age. Hearing loss is also irreversible in most cases, so prevention is key. Here are a few ways you can prevent hearing loss and keep yourself hearing for as long as possible.
There are many places we are exposed to noise: restaurants, clubs, concerts, sporting events… even at home when the neighbor mows the lawn or when using a power tool! Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common type and it’s also the most preventable.
Earplugs are the simplest way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. They are cheap, easy to use and can be found at any drugstore. If you work in a noisy environment, like a factory or with music, custom earplugs may be a great option for you. They can limit exposure to loud noise while still granting music enjoyment or conversation. Ask your audiologist to help you order custom earplugs that will fit your ears!
Turn it Down!
Hearing damage is not just a problem for older people. A recent survey found 1.1 billion young adults and teens are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss worldwide! This is due to the pervasive use of audio devices and earbuds. We can travel with our entertainment everywhere we go, which is great! But always listening at a high volume can compromise our hearing.
As a general practice, try to follow the 60/60 rule: listen 60 minutes per day or less at no higher than 60% volume. If possible, use over-the-ear headphones instead of ear buds, which prevents loud noises from funneling directly into your ear canal and causing damage.
Take a Breath
We are all inevitably exposed to loud noises. When this happens, give your ears a break by taking 5 minutes to step away from the noise and give them a chance to recover.
After a noisy evening out, your ears benefit from at least 16 hours of quiet to recover from the stresses.
Cardiovascular workouts are great for our hearts and for our waistlines, but did you know they are also good for hearing? Blood circulation to our whole body (including our ears!) improves as our heart rates rise. Try to get at least a little physical exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block or some gardening.
Don’t Stress Out!
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can be a result of stress and anxiety. When we worry, our bodies tighten up and blood flow is limited. Be sure to relax each day and think about the things you are thankful for. It will help to protect your hearing as well as your overall health!
Keep them Clean and Dry
Swimmer’s Ear and other infections can result from trapped moisture in the inner ear canal after swimming or bathing. Additionally, infection can sometimes damage the ear’s inner structures and influence hearing ability. Whenever you get wet, gently dry your ears with a soft cloth. If you there is still water in your ears, tilt your head or lay down until the water drains out.
Watch the Meds
Both over-the-counter medicines and prescription pharmaceuticals can be oxotoxic. Ototoxic chemicals are those that can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss as a side effect. NSAIDS like aspirin and ibuprofen have been found to result in hearing loss or tinnitus. Usually hearing returns when they are no longer taken, so use these drugs sparingly.
What About Cotton Swabs?
Many use cotton swabs to clean wax from the ears, but this is not recommended. Ear wax is a natural way for the body to prevent harmful particles from reaching the inner ear or even the brain. Ears are self-cleaning (the motions of your jaw works to move wax out of the ear canal and into the outer ear where it can be safely wiped away). Inserting anything into your ears can be dangerous: a cotton swab can potentially damage your ear drum or other sensitive areas.
Check Them Out
Annual hearing screenings are important to keep tabs on your hearing. Hearing loss is a gradual process and you may not notice it until it’s too late. Regular examinations can detect hearing loss early and stop it before it gets worse.
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