Hearing Loss Prevention
Hearing loss can stem from many causes including earwax (cerumen) blocking the ear canal, a tumor (usually benign) on the hearing nerve, changes in our health conditions, inherited conditions such as familial history of hearing loss, the use of ototoxic drugs, and blunt force trauma directly to the ear. But did you know (according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) that nearly one-third of permanent hearing loss is preventable?
The human hearing system is both complex and very delicate. The cochlea – also known as the inner ear – contains thousands of tiny hair-like cells. When these “hairs” get damaged, it diminishes hearing. Exposure to loud noises can damage these sensitive structures, causing noise-induced hearing loss, which is irreversible. That’s why precautionary steps that prevent hearing loss play a vital role in your hearing health. These include:
- Having your hearing assessed regularly, with a baseline reading by age 50
- Protecting your ears from physical damage
- Wearing hearing protection to avoid loud noise – this includes being fitted for ear plugs molded to specifically to fit your canal, especially if you are a musician or work in a noisy environment
NOTE: Sounds don’t have to be painful to cause hearing loss damage! You may not even realize the damage that noise causes to your hearing.
Common Symptoms of Hearing Loss include:
- Not knowing what direction sounds are coming from
- Particular speech sounds are inaudible making it hard to understand conversations
- Difficulty separating sounds in noisy environments
- Loud noises may cause discomfort
Tips on How to Prevent Hearing Loss:
- Protect your ears from loud sound whenever possible
- Have your hearing professionally assessed
- Avoid very intense or sudden sounds. These are are particularly dangerous and can cause immediate and permanent hearing loss
- Know which noises can cause damage (those at or above 85 decibels)
- Protect children’s ears
- Limit time in noisy environments by giving your ears a break in a quiet setting
- When listening to music, set the volume at a moderate level. Important: don’t turn the volume up in order to drown out background noise.
- Avoid exposed to solvents, toxins, are certain medication – all are linked to hearing loss
- Educate family, friends, and colleagues of the hazards of noise.
- If you work in a noisy environment, make sure that your workplace has an effective program to protect your hearing, as required by federal law.
If you cannot avoid loud noises, you should protect your ears with hearing protectors such as custom earplugs or noise-reducing headphones.
Remember, Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Preventable!
Want to learn more about custom-fitted hearing protectors? Have questions or concerns about your hearing? Want to get your hearing assessed? We have you covered! Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced audiologists or hearing professionals at a Hearing Aid Counselors hearing center near you.