Hearing loss is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by several factors, including ear wax, ear infection, exposure to loud noises, aging, disease, and hereditary conditions. Treatment usually ranges from simple clearing of ear wax to complex options like the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. There are three main types of hearing loss,
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss is when the nerves in the inner ear are damaged and can no longer send information to the brain about sound in an accurate way.
- Conductive Hearing Loss is when there is damage to the outer or middle ear, which causes the sound not adequately conducted from the air to the inner ear.
- Mixed Hearing Loss combines both sensorineural and conductive issues.
Early detection of any hearing impairment, particularly in children, is critical for optimal speech and language development. Parents and caregivers should be on the lookout for subtle signs and symptoms of hearing loss, as these can be difficult to detect. Consider an audiology evaluation if your child speaks excessively loudly, listens to the television/handheld device at a high volume, is inattentive, mispronounces words, is uneasy at school, or exhibits difficult behavior for no apparent reason. Hearing health is critical at any age.
World Hearing Day aims to promote awareness of the effects of noise on hearing and your ears.
1 day a year is not enough, so here are 10 ways to protect your hearing which you can do every day.
- Protect Your Ears from Loud Noises by Wearing Ear Protection Gear
In order to prevent hearing loss, it’s essential to protect your ears from loud noises. These sounds can cause permanent damage to your hearing if you’re exposed to them for even a short period of time. Some examples include music concerts, car horns, and powered tools. Any sound louder than 85 decibels (dB) could potentially be hazardous. You can protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs in situations where you may be exposed to loud, harmful sounds. If you are constantly exposed to loud noise at workplace, get an annual ear and hearing evaluation and have proper follow up with the ENT doctor.
- Reduce the Volume
Hearing loss can happen gradually, and most people don’t notice it until it’s too late. Listening to music at loud volumes can cause permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and other hearing problems. The best way to protect your hearing is to turn down the volume. If you’re listening to music through headphones, use the volume control feature on your device.
- Avoid Using Cotton Ear Swabs
Many people don’t realize that our ears naturally filter out any harmful particles or debris that enter our ear canals and that most of the time earwax doesn’t need any help getting out of there. You can do more harm than good by using cotton swabs in your ears by pushing the ear wax deep into the ear canal. This can injure the ear drum and making it difficult for the doctor to clean the ears. If you’re experiencing some discomfort, ear block or hearing issues, visit one of our ENT experts for an easy fix! We’ll have you feeling better—and hearing better—in no time.
- Take Medications Exactly as Prescribed
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can permanently damage hearing if taken in high doses or for long periods of time. Talk with your doctor about the best options for your specific health needs. Avoid using ear drops without an examination of ears by the doctor. Over the counter usage of ear drops can sometimes cause damage to ear.
- Keep Your Ears Dry
Water is an essential element for our bodies — it helps us stay hydrated and keeps us alive! It can also help us enjoy various activities like swimming and diving. However, water can be dangerous if it gets in your ears. If water gets into your ears, it can damage the ears’ delicate inner workings and lead to hearing loss. If you’ve ever gone swimming, you might be familiar with the feeling of a clogged ear. That’s because water entering your ear canal can disrupt the ear drum’s ability to vibrate properly and conduct sound to your inner ear. This can lead to temporary hearing loss. If you can feel water in the ear, tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out. Sometimes water inside the ear can cause ear canal infection called the swimmer’s ear or even fungal infection of ears. Over time, repeated exposure to moisture (e.g., water, sweat) can also cause skin breakdown in the ear canal, leading to inflammation and infection.
- Reduce or Eliminate Your Exposure to Chemicals that May Cause Hearing Loss
Chemicals can be found in everything from plastics to cleaning products, and many of them are known to be harmful when we’re exposed to them for extended periods of time. If you work in an industry where you’re regularly exposed to chemicals, be sure that you’re getting annual hearing tests; if you notice a change in your hearing in between your appointments with the ENT doctor and audiologist, schedule an appointment immediately.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise and making sure to get up and move around every so often can help protect your hearing. Cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including the ears. This helps the internal parts of ears to stay healthy and working to their maximum potential.
- Control Your Stress Levels
Stress affects the body in a multitude of ways, from stomach upset to high blood pressure. Unfortunately, stress can also contribute to hearing loss! This may come as a surprise to many, but it’s true. Stress disrupts circulation to the ears, sending blood rushing to other parts of your body instead. As stress becomes chronic, cells in the ear can be damaged or even die, leading to hearing loss and ringing sensation in ears.
- Get a Good Night Sleep
One of the most common yet surprising consequences of hearing loss is sleep deprivation. This can result in several health problems, including weight gain, irritability and depression, memory loss, and more. Hearing problems don’t just make it harder for you to hear—they can also affect the quality of your sleep. Get plenty of rest! If you’re not sleeping well—especially if you suspect it has to do with lack of quality sleep—make an appointment with our sleep specialists as soon as possible. Lack of sleep is linked to many health issues, and poor sleep can affect your hearing health too.
- Get Regularly Checked
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, and it’s a problem that we often don’t notice until it’s too late. That’s why regular health checkups are so important. Getting your hearing checked at least once a year can help you keep your ears and hearing health. Our ENT experts will run a few tests, and if they do find a problem, they can take steps to correct it before more damage occurs. So whether you’re having trouble hearing or need a checkup, we’re here for you!