Hearing loss comes in two forms: age-related and noise-induced. Age-related hearing loss occurs when the tiny hair cells within your ear slowly start to breakdown. Noise-induced hearing loss, on the other hand, occurs when your ears are exposed to a loud noise (especially constantly over time), that damages the hair cells within the ears.
While you cannot prevent age-related hearing loss, you may be able to prevent it from worsening. As for noise-related hearing loss, there is plenty you can do to avoid permanent damage to your hearing.
Stay Away from Excessive, Frequent Noise
If you have to shout over a noise, it is too loud—and most likely is damaging your hearing. Being around loud speakers, riding motorcycles or even using power tools daily could damage your hearing. But, by wearing noise-cancelling earplugs or other forms of protection, you can limit your ears’ exposure, and hopefully, prevent hearing loss.
Wear the Right Type of Protection
If you know you are going to be exposed to loud noises, wear protection. Your choices include:
Earplugs – An earplug goes into the ear and can reduce noise by up to thirty decibels. If you need to wear earplugs daily, consider buying ones that are custom-fitted to the shape of your ear for better protection. If you will be in a loud environment temporarily, purchase some at your local drug or hardware store.
Earmuffs – Earmuffs do not just go in the ear; instead, they cover the entire ear. They can reduce sounds by up to thirty decibels as well, but in order to block sound, they must fully cover your ear.
There has been some research that found a link between smoking and risk for hearing loss. If you smoke, consider quitting.
Check Your Prescriptions
There are approximately 200 prescription medications that are toxic for your hearing. Antibiotics, cancer medications, and others can actually damage your hearing over time. Aspirin in high doses has been shown to damage hearing as well. If you take a prescription medication or even an over-the-counter drug, read the information provided to you and see if hearing loss is a risk or common side effect of the drug. If so, discuss better alternatives with your physician.
Clean Ears the Right Way
Wax in your ears can make sounds more muffled, but before you stick a cotton swab in there, consider this: cotton swabs actually push ear wax deep into the ear canal, worsening the problem. Instead, use an irrigation kit that softens the wax and rinses it out. If you have compacted ear wax you may need an ENT to help clean it out.
Visit an ENT Right Away if You Suspect Loss
Any type of hearing loss—even if you have just noticed a slight change—should be examined by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Sometimes early diagnosis can prevent further loss. Also, see a specialist if you notice ringing in your ears, have relatives with hearing loss, have been exposed to loud noises on a frequent basis, etc. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Light today by calling 561-737-8584 now.