Hearing loss is a common problem among people of all ages due to aging, genetics, or sometimes environmental and occupational hazards. Reduced hearing can impact your ability to communicate, socialize, and enjoy life. Hence, taking proper precautions to protect your hearing from potential damage is essential. Here are the top ten tips to ensure that you safeguard your hearing and prevent hearing loss:
Avoid Exposure to Loud Noises
To avoid hearing loss, limit your exposure to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels, as loud noises are a major cause of hearing damage. Avoid going to noisy places such as concerts or nightclubs without ear protection. Similarly, avoid using headphones at high volumes for extended periods and maintain a safe distance from speakers when attending events with live music. Lawnmowers, power tools, guns, and motorcycles can also cause hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to such sounds may lead to irreversible damage to hearing cells over time.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Making healthy lifestyle choices is crucial for maintaining optimal hearing health. Smoking narrows blood vessels which may reduce blood flow and lead to hearing loss. To prioritize your hearing health, staying active and exercising regularly can help to improve blood flow, reduce stress levels, and strengthen your ear muscles. Quitting smoking can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of hearing complications. Consider installing soundproof doors or windows to reduce the impact of noisy surroundings if you live in a noisy environment.
Invest in Hearing Protection Devices
You can purchase custom-fit ear protection from various retailers that will fit your ears perfectly and block out most of the sound. The ear protection is equipped with filters to decrease the intensity of incoming noise. Noise-canceling headphones reduce ambient noise levels while listening to music or attending events. It helps prevent damage from occurring due to prolonged exposure to high volumes. If you work in a noisy environment, always wear appropriate headgear for hearing protection as instructed by your employer or safety supervisor.
Some of the best hearing protection devices have features like an adjustable fit, noise reduction rating (NRR) of up to 35 dB, and comfort padding for extended use. Look out for any wear and tear on your hearing protection device regularly and replace them when needed.
Get Regular Hearing Tests
Hearing tests from reputable clinics such as HearCanada are important for early detection and diagnosis of any hearing-related problems in Canada. Regular tests can help identify a loss in the ability to hear, even if it is mild or moderate at first. Get a checkup at least once every year, especially if you are exposed to loud environments regularly or have a family history of hearing loss. The earlier you detect any issue, the easier the problem can be treated and managed.
Hearing specialists can also assist with preventing further damage by providing adequate counseling on how to protect your ears from loud noises and other hazardous sounds. Keep an eye on any signs of hearing difficulty, like straining to understand conversations or having difficulty understanding speech.
Maintain Your Hearing Aid
With the assistance of hearing aid, you can experience a significantly improved quality of life. However, hearing aids do require proper maintenance to function effectively and reliably. Clean the device regularly and ensure the battery is charged and replaced regularly. Replace worn earmolds or dome fittings as needed when these become loose or uncomfortable. It is also advisable to follow any instructions of your audiologist regarding the cleaning, maintenance, and storage of your hearing aid devices.
Get Treatment for Ear Infections
Ear infections can lead to hearing loss if left untreated. Seek medical attention immediately if you have an ear infection. Treatment for ear infections usually consists of antibiotics and other medications prescribed by your doctor. Ear infections can be due to allergies, viruses or bacteria. Your doctor may recommend undergoing surgery if you have recurring ear infections due to structural problems in your ears to resolve the issue. Alternatively, they could recommend allergy shots and other preventative measures to decrease the chance of getting infections again. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preventing any permanent hearing loss caused by an infection.
Keep Your Ears Clean and Dry
Keeping your ears clean and dry is essential for good ear health. It’s important to avoid using cotton swabs or other objects to clean your ears. These can push wax deeper into the ear canal and cause damage.
Excess moisture in the ear canal also creates a breeding ground for bacteria, potentially leading to infections and temporary or permanent hearing loss. To protect your ears from moisture-related issues:
- Dry your ears thoroughly after swimming, showering, or exposure to rain.
- Avoid inserting objects, such as cotton swabs, into your ear canal, as this can push water and debris further in and cause damage.
- Wear a swim cap or use waterproof earplugs when swimming to prevent water from entering your ears.
Manage Medical Conditions
Measles, meningitis, diabetes, and HIV can increase risk of developing hearing loss. Get these medical conditions managed and monitored by healthcare providers to reduce the chances of complications arising from them. Regularly attending doctor appointments and taking prescribed medications can help manage the underlying medical issues and reduce the chances of experiencing hearing difficulties.
Turn Down the Volume
Be mindful of high volumes when using audio devices such as headphones, speakers, or watching TV. It is safer to listen at lower levels for longer periods as opposed to short bursts of loud noise. Most electronic devices have a control feature that lets you adjust the volume to a suitable level for safe listening.
You can also purchase an app that monitors sound levels in different environments and gives your warnings whenever there is prolonged exposure to high volumes. Adjusting treble and bass settings on your device or using noise-canceling headphones can also help balance audio levels without cranking up the volume excessively.
In addition, follow the 60/60 rule. This rule advises that you listen to your audio device at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes per day. After that hour, take a break to allow your ears to recover. Avoid turning up the volume in noisy environments. It will make your ears work harder to filter out the noise, which can lead to fatigue and damage.
Use Earplugs or Earmuffs
Earplugs and earmuffs are excellent tools for protecting your hearing. They are inexpensive and readily available in hardware stores, pharmacies, or online shops. You can use them in various situations, such as during concerts, construction work, or while operating loud machinery. Earplugs can be custom-made, which provides a better fit and more protection. Earmuffs are also an effective protection method that covers the entire external ear and reduces the volume of sound reaching the inner ear.
Taking care of your hearing health is essential for maintaining a good quality of life. Simple lifestyle changes and preventive measures can help protect your hearing from damage. It’s important to visit an audiologist and get a hearing test done. Doing so can help identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate solutions.