If your hearing loss is starting to affect your daily life, it’s important to take certain steps that can prevent it from worsening over time. Hearing loss isn’t an inevitable part of ageing even though it is common and can be exacerbated through lifestyle and health factors. In this article, Health and Hearing is exploring how you can prevent your hearing loss from getting worse.
Understanding the Cause of Your Hearing Loss
Age-related hearing loss is an accumulation of damage to the ears over a long period of time. This kind of hearing loss is mild at first and then progressively gets worse if left untreated. Some forms of hearing loss can be caused by underlying medical conditions or trauma to the connected nerves and tissues.
When sound waves reach the inner ear, they have been significantly amplified by the ear canal. These sound waves move tiny hairs which brush against structures that release chemicals. The chemicals turn into electrical signals that are interpreted as noises by the brain.
Over time, the hair cells break down and have difficulty creating electrical signals. The higher the volume of sounds, the more damage is done to your ear’s hair cells. Hair cells cannot be fixed or replaced once they are gone, which is why it’s important to protect your ears against damage while you’re still young.
Protecting Your Hearing Every Day
Taking care of your hearing requires constant hygiene and preventative techniques. A major player in hearing loss is overexposure to loud noises. The higher the decibel of sound, the more dangerous the noise is to your ears.
You may think the damage is only caused by extremely loud noises but the truth is that lower decibels can be dangerous too. As a rule of thumb, any noise that requires you to raise your voice in order to speak over it is too loud. Detrimental effects can happen within just a few minutes of exposure to loud noises (link to blog post 2).
You should be wearing hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, when you are:
- Attending a concert
- Riding a motorcycle
- Operating power tools
- Participating in loud social events
Listening to Music Safely
Avoid using items that are designed to amplify and isolate sound. Headphones and earbuds can cause damage at higher than 60% of their full volume. Ill-fitting earbuds allow ambient sound to enter and often result in us turning the volume all the way up and putting our hearing at risk. Try to only listen to music through these devices for one hour a day.
Being Careful with Your Hearing at Work
If your job exposes you to loud sounds, wear ear protection every day and speak to your boss about how you can mitigate the risks of hearing damage. No matter where you are, if you believe the noise level is too high, you should express your concerns.
Avoid Certain Health Risks
In case you needed another reason to quit smoking, this is it. Smokers have been found much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss over time. Additionally, check your medication to see if it causes hearing loss. Some examples of this are aspirin, diuretics, anti-depressants, certain antibiotics, and many more.
Eating right and exercising regularly will protect every part of your body against the damage that comes with age. Manage your blood pressure levels and take care of your body to lower your chances of hearing damage.
Book a Hearing Test Today
As soon as you recognise an issue with your hearing, book a hearing test at one of our Brisbane clinics. Early diagnosis and treatment can protect your hearing against further damage. You can book a free consultation by calling (07) 3366 9355 or contacting us online.