What is The Possibility That I Can Prevent my Hearing Loss From Getting Even Worse?

Couple enjoying their motorcycle while protecting their ears from further hearing loss.

Hearing loss is common for most people, but is it inevitable? As they get older, the vast majority of people will start to take note of a change in their hearing. That change is really the effect of a lot of years of listening to sound. Prevention is the best way of managing the extent of the loss and how quickly it progresses, which is the case with most things in life. Your hearing will be impacted later on in life by the things you decide to do now. When it comes to your hearing health, it’s never too late to care or too soon to start. What are the steps you can take now to safeguard your hearing?

Get The Facts About Hearing Loss

Knowing what causes the majority of hearing loss begins with finding out how the ears actually work. Age-associated hearing loss, medically known as presbycusis, is affecting one in three people in this country between the ages of 64 and 74. It is an accumulation of damage to the ears over the years. Presbycusis is slight at first and then gets progressively worse.

Sound goes into the ear in waves that are amplified several times before they reach the inner ear. Chemicals are released after being bumped by little hairs, which are in turn shaken by incoming waves of sound. These chemicals are translated by the brain into electrical pulses, which are then “heard” by the brain as sound.

The drawback to all this shaking and bumping is the hair cells ultimately break down and stop working. Once these hair cells are lost they won’t come back. Without those cells to create the electrical signals, the sound is never translated into a language the brain can comprehend.

How exactly do these hair cells become damaged? It can be considerably magnified by several factors but it can be anticipated, to varying degrees, with aging. The word “volume” refers to the strength of sound waves. More damage is done to the hair cells if they receive more powerful sound waves, and that means a higher volume of sound.

There are some other factors aside from exposure to loud sound. Also, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses will take a toll.

Protecting Your Hearing

Good hearing hygiene is a big part of protecting your hearing over time. Volume is at the root of the problem. Sound is much more unsafe when it’s at a higher volume or decibel level. It doesn’t have to be as loud as you may think to lead to damage. A noise is too loud if you have to raise your voice to talk over it.

Everyone has to cope with the random loud noise but frequent exposure or even just a couple of loud minutes at a time is sufficient to impact your hearing later on. Taking precautions when you expect to be subjected to loud sound, fortunately, is pretty simple. Wear hearing protection when you:

  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Run power equipment
  • Go to a performance
  • Participate in loud activities.

Avoid using accessories made to amplify and isolate sound, also, like headphones or earbuds. A reduced volume should be chosen and use conventional speakers.

Manage The Noise Around You

Over time, even everyday sounds will become a hearing hazard. When you get an appliance for your home, check the noise rating of the product. Try to use appliances that have a lower noise rating.

Don’t worry about speaking up if the noise gets too loud when you’re at a restaurant or party. The party’s host, or maybe even the restaurant manager may be willing to help accommodate for your issue.

Pay Attention to Noise Levels While at Work

If your job exposes you to loud noises like equipment, you need to do something about it. If your boss doesn’t provide hearing protection, buy your own. Here are several products that can protect your hearing:

  • Headphones
  • Earplugs
  • Earmuffs

Your employer will probably listen if you bring up your worries.

Stop Smoking

Hearing impairment is yet another good reason to give up smoking. Studies show that cigarette smokers are much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. Second-hand smoke can also speed up hearing loss.

Look Twice at Medications

Many medications are ototoxic, meaning they can cause damage to your ears. Several typical culprits include:

  • Narcotic analgesics
  • Mood stabilizers and antidepressants
  • Aspirin
  • Diuretics
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Cardiac medication

The true list is quite a bit longer than this and contains prescription medication and over the counter products. Read the label of any pain relievers you purchase and use them only when necessary. If you are uncertain about a drug, ask your doctor before taking it.

Be Kind to Your Body

To prevent hearing loss it’s particularly important, as you get older, to do the normal things that keep you healthy, like eating right and exercising. Reduce the amount of salt you eat 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 loss.

Lastly, have your hearing tested if you suspect you may have hearing loss or if you hear ringing in your ears. Pay close attention to your hearing because you might not even realize that you need hearing aids. Schedule an appointment with a hearing expert to keep any issues from getting worse. It’s never too late.

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