Hearing loss is a common complication affecting millions of people around the world, and various factors, such as aging, genetics, infections, certain medications, and exposure to loud noise, can cause it. While some forms of hearing loss are irreversible, there are measures that individuals can undertake to safeguard their hearing and prevent further damage. In this article, we will discuss the protection against hearing loss according to hearing care professionals.
What Is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is the partial or complete inability to hear sounds in one or both ears. The degree of hearing loss can vary from mild to profound. For example, mild hearing loss may make it difficult to hear soft sounds, while profound hearing loss may make it impossible to hear anything at all. The effects of hearing loss can range from a minor annoyance to a complete disruption of daily life. Communication problems, social isolation, and cognitive decline are common among people with hearing loss.
Protection Against Hearing Loss
There are several ways to protect against hearing loss, and the following tips from hearing care professionals can help maintain good hearing health:
- Avoid exposure to loud noises: It is advisable to minimize exposure to high-decibel sounds as they are a significant contributor to hearing loss. Avoiding or limiting exposure to loud noises, such as concerts, fireworks, power tools, and firearms, would be best to protect your hearing. If you must be in a noisy environment, wear hearing protection, such as hearing aids, earplugs, or earmuffs.
- Take breaks from loud noises: Regular breaks from exposure to loud sounds are recommended. If an individual is subjected to loud sounds for an extended period, it is advisable to rest their ears. Doing so can prevent harm to the hair cells in the inner ear, which are responsible for detecting sound waves and transmitting them as electrical impulses to the brain.
- Turn down the volume: When listening to music, watching TV, or using headphones, turn the volume to a safe level. A general rule of thumb is to keep the volume at 60% or below and take breaks every hour.
- Get regular hearing tests: Regular hearing tests can help detect hearing loss early and prevent further damage. It is recommended that adults get their hearing tested at least once every ten years until age 50 and then every three years after that.
- Avoid putting objects in your ears: It is recommended to avoid inserting objects, such as cotton swabs or other implements, into the ears for the purpose of cleaning. This is because such objects can damage the delicate structures of the ear, which may result in hearing loss.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Observing a healthy lifestyle is crucial for preventing hearing loss. Such measures include consuming a well-balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and refraining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Consider hearing aids: If you have experienced hearing loss, hearing aids services in Kittery can help you hear better and communicate more effectively. Hearing aids amplify sounds and can be customized to your specific needs.
When to See a Hearing Care Professional?
It is essential to see a hearing care professional if you suspect you have hearing loss or if you experience any of the symptoms below:
- Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
- Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Hear like people are mumbling when they speak
- Having trouble hearing on the phone
- Avoiding social situations due to difficulty hearing
- Feeling tired or stressed from straining to hear
If you experience any of these symptoms, scheduling an appointment with a hearing care professional as soon as possible is crucial. The sooner hearing loss is detected, the better the chance to prevent further damage.
During your appointment, the hearing care professional will conduct a hearing test to find out the extent of your hearing loss and may recommend the best course of action. Depending on the seriousness of your hearing loss, they may recommend hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive listening devices.
It is important to note that seeking help for hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, delaying treatment can lead to further damage and make it more difficult to manage hearing loss in the future. However, by taking action early and working with a hearing care professional, you can improve your quality of life and maintain good hearing health for years.
Hearing loss can have a significant effect on quality of life, and it is essential to take steps to protect your hearing. By following the tips outlined by hearing care professionals, you can reduce your risk of hearing loss and maintain good hearing health. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and it’s never too early or too late to start protecting your hearing.