Many people view hearing loss as an unavoidable aspect of growing old. While some degree of hearing loss may be inevitable, in other cases, it’s entirely preventable. And even when hearing loss is imminent, there are steps to reduce its progression significantly. Ear trauma, noise damage, and disease are all sources of hearing loss that can be averted when you know the steps to take.
1. COVER YOUR EARS
Trauma to the ears in the form of injury, harsh weather, or contact sports can have a lasting impact on your delicate sense of sound. The position of our ears makes them susceptible to damage, as they are rarely covered and can easily get bumped and bruised. Be sure to cover your ears in cold weather, as well as in sporting endeavors. This includes bike and motorcycle riding, boating, and skiing or tennis.
2. PROTECT YOUR EARS
Chances are, you live near something noisy- whether it’s the construction site in your neighborhood, the traffic on your commute, or the lawnmower in your yard. The use of power tools and dentist’s drills can create ringing in your ears that won’t quit. When you are heading into a noisy environment, pack protection for your ears. Earplugs, noise-canceling headphones, or even ear muffs will help soften the sound that is impacting your ears every day.
3. AVOID LENGTHY NOISE
Little bursts of loud noise can pop into our day without warning. But prolonged exposure to loud sounds can often be avoided. This includes concerts, live events, music played through headphones, and loud cinemas. You can still enjoy such activities by taking earplugs along to muffle the harsh noise. Take breaks from loud events to reduce the impact on your ears. Immediate, as well as, cumulative damage can be caused by loud events when our ears aren’t protected.
4. KNOW YOUR RISK
If hearing loss runs in your family, you’ll want to be proactive. Stopping progression is often easier than repairing the damage. It’s essential to know the warning signs of hearing loss, such as asking people to repeat themselves, having trouble understanding over the phone, and hearing funny sounds in your ears. When you talk to a specialist about hearing loss, you can help mitigate your risk and reduce progression.
5. STAY HEALTHY
Your body is one organism working to maintain homeostasis. When one part is not working correctly, other parts often suffer as well. Staying hydrated, eating well, and exercising will help stave off the effects of aging. Practice good hygiene to reduce the number of colds and viruses you catch, which can lead to inner ear infections. Guard against swimmer’s ear and other rashes by using protective measures. Keeping hydrated will protect the delicate ear membranes by preventing dryness and dehydration.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR LOVED ONES
Those who you speak to daily may pick up on your hearing loss, even before you do. While it might seem like a bad phone connection or a noisy TV is to blame for your difficult reception, friends and family can tell if you’re struggling more than usual. Trust their advice if they suggest you have your hearing checked. You may even want to bring someone along to the appointment to help describe the symptoms they have noticed.
7. VISIT A HEARING SPECIALIST YEARLY
We wouldn’t skip a mammogram or dental appointment, so take your hearing just as seriously. Hearing loss can often be addressed successfully when we stay ahead of it. Each year, our bodies change, and that includes our ears. You may have been struggling to hear, even with your current hearing aids, without realizing it. Furthermore, hearing loss can be a symptom of something more troubling, such as dementia, diabetes, or heart disease. Your hearing may be the first clue that something else is going on. Be sure to ask plenty of questions to understand your test results.
8. ADDRESS YOUR HEARING LOSS
If your doctor recommends a hearing aid, it’s best to follow their advice. Pay close attention to the directions, and volume controls to regulate what your ears are receiving. Superior hearing technology not only restores the sound but protects the hearing you have. Failure to use a necessary hearing device causes strain and fatigue to the ears and brain when you try to decipher the sounds. Going for long periods without your hearing aid can affect your ability to process what you hear.