8 Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss
Tally Sherban, the Audiologist from the newly-launched Hearing Works in Rosebank Mall, says that although hearing loss is not always preventable, there are some things you can do to reduce your likelihood of having hearing loss.
Protecting your hearing is important to prevent hearing loss, or to hinder current hearing loss from becoming worse. The small changes that make a big difference when protecting your hearing, these are the ones which pay off in the long run.
In the short term, noise causes stress and as most of us understand, stress is terrible for your health. In the long term, noise causes hearing loss and hearing loss is also detrimental to your overall health and your quality of life. Even though you may not be able to control all aspects of hearing loss, there are eight key practices that you do to be proactive.
Here they are, eight ways to keep your hearing healthy and to help you reduce stress:
1. Avoid extremely loud noises
Excessive noise exposure is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. If possible, reducing exposure to extremely loud noise will drastically reduce your likelihood of hearing loss. Some examples of sounds to avoid or reduce include: gunfire, power tools, jet engines, explosives, rock concerts, large sporting events.
2. Wear hearing protection
When it is not possible to avoid loud sounds, it is imperative that you wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears.
The tiny hair cells in your inner ear are sensitive to loud noises. Once those hair cells are damaged, a permanent hearing loss will occur. If you are exposed to any of the extremely loud sounds listed above, it is crucial that you wear hearing protection.
Other examples of earplug-worthy loud noises include lawnmowers, motorcycles, heavy machinery and music/dance clubs.
3. Turn it down
There are several household appliances and sounds that you are exposed to every day, which may be too loud. When purchasing items like blenders, hair dryers, food processors, vacuum cleaners, or children’s toys, it is important to pay attention to the decibel (dB) level these appliances put out.
Choose to buy an appliance with a lower output level (below 80dB) and turn down the volume on your music players and televisions.
4. Don't put anything in your ears
Attempting to clean your ears of wax or sticking foreign objects in your ears will cause a greater likelihood of ear infections or injuries to the ear. If you cause physical injury to your ear, it can result in hearing loss. A simple rule of thumb is not to stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!
5. Seek prompt treatment for ear infections
Otitis media, an infection of the middle ear, is more common in children but can occur in adulthood as well. More frequent ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss. If an ear infection is left untreated for an extended period, more damage to the ear can occur. If you suspect an ear infection, see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible.
6. Ask about your medication
Certain medications such as some antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy agents, and high doses of aspirin can affect the ears. These are called ototoxic medications because they are toxic to the ear. Ask your doctor if a medication you are taking is ototoxic and if it is, whether there is an alternative medication that can be used. If not, ask if the dosage can be safely reduced.
7. No smoking
Tobacco smoke has been linked to hearing loss. If you smoke, protecting your hearing may be a reason to quit. If you don’t smoke, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
8. Keep a good diet
Recent studies are revealing that people who consume better quality calories have better hearing and that poor diets can lead to a greater chance of hearing loss. If you are looking for motivation to eat healthily, do it for your hearing!
Scientists have conducted studies that proved the connection between obesity and hearing loss. One of the biggest common denominators is blood flow.
Our ears are metabolically active. They need a steady stream of blood, to properly function. Those who suffer from weight gain, and specifically obesity, have much more narrow blood vessels. This causes a chain reaction.
If you are concerned about your hearing or the hearing of a loved one, contact your local Audiologist for a comprehensive hearing test. Alternatively you can do this free online hearing screening to give you a better indication if you need to see an Audiologist.