Hearing loss is not always inevitable, even though it is common. As they age, the majority of adults will begin to notice a change in their hearing. After listening to sound for years, you will notice even small changes in your ability to hear. Just like most things in life, though, prevention is the key to regulating the degree of that loss and how fast it advances. Later in life, the extent of your hearing loss will be determined by the choices you make now. You should think about it sooner than later because you can still prevent further hearing loss. What can you do to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse?
Comprehending Hearing Loss
Recognizing what causes most hearing loss begins with finding out how the ears actually work. Age-associated hearing loss, medically known as presbycusis, affects one in every three people in America from 64 to 74. It is a cumulation of damage to the ears over the years. Presbycusis starts slowly and then gets progressively worse.
Sound goes into the ear in waves that are amplified a number of times before they finally reach the inner ear. Chemicals are released after being bumped into by little hairs, which are in turn shaken by incoming waves of sound. These chemicals are interpreted by the brain as electrical signals, which are then “heard” by the brain as sound.
Failing over time, due to the constant vibration, the tiny hairs eventually quit. These hair cells don’t fix themselves, either, so once gone, they’re gone. The sound is not translated into a language that the brain can comprehend without those little vibrating hairs.
How exactly do these hair cells become damaged? It can be considerably magnified by several factors but it can be expected, to varying degrees, as a part of aging. Sound waves come in various strengths, though; that is what’s known as volume. If the sound is at a higher volume, then the force of the sound wave is greater, and the hair cells take more damage.
There are some other considerations apart from exposure to loud noise. Additionally, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses will take a toll.
Safeguarding Your Hearing
You need to depend on good hearing hygiene to safeguard your ears over time. Sound volume presents the biggest problem. Sound is much more dangerous when it’s at a louder volume or decibel level. Damage is caused at a much lower decibel level then you might realize. If you notice that you have to raise your voice to talk over a noise, it’s too loud.
Even a few loud minutes, not to mention continuous exposure, will be enough to have a detrimental effect later on. Taking precautions when you expect to be exposed to loud sound, fortunately, is pretty easy. Use hearing protection when you:
- Ride a motorcycle
- Run power tools
- Do something where the noise is loud.
- Go to a performance
Headphones, earbuds, and other accessories designed to isolate and amplify sound should be avoided. Listen to music the old-fashioned way and at a lower volume.
Control The Noise Around You
Even the things around your house can generate enough noise to become a problem over time. The noise rating should be checked before you invest in a new appliance. Try to use appliances that have a lower noise rating.
If the noise gets too loud when you are out at a party or restaurant, don’t be afraid to speak up. The host of the party, or perhaps even the restaurant manager will probably be willing to help accommodate for your issue.
Be Conscious of Noise While at Work
When you’re working, protect your ears if your work-place is loud. If your employer doesn’t provide hearing protection, invest in your own. Here are some products that will protect your ears:
If you mention your situation, chances are your employer will be willing to listen.
Add hearing to the long list of reasons you shouldn’t smoke. Studies demonstrate that smokers are much more likely to get age-related hearing loss. This is true if you are exposed to second-hand smoke, as well.
Be Certain to Look Closely at Medications That You Take
Some medications are known to cause hearing damage. This is called ototoxicity. Several typical culprits include:
- Cardiac medication
- Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
- Certain antibiotics
- Narcotic analgesics
This list is a mix of over-the-counter products and prescription medications and it’s not even all of them. If you take pain relievers, do so only when necessary and read the labels. Ask your doctor first if you are uncertain.
Treat Your Body Well
To slow down hearing loss it’s particularly important, as you get older, to do the normal things that keep you healthy, like eating well and exercising. Decrease the amount of sodium you consume and take your medications to manage your high blood pressure. You have a lower risk of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, if you take good care of your body and this leads to lower chances of hearing problems.
Finally, get your hearing examined if you believe that you could have hearing loss or if you hear ringing in your ears. Pay close attention to your hearing because you might not even recognize that you need hearing aids. If you detect any changes in your hearing, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. It’s never too late to take care of your hearing.