Isn’t pizza fascinating? You can switch the toppings, sauces, even the cheeses on it, but as long as it meets a few basic criteria, it’s still a pizza. That’s a lot like hearing loss. Symptoms and presentations are caused by a number of different problems, loud noises, genetic factors, age, or ear obstructions, but as long as you have a hard time hearing sounds, it’s still hearing loss.
Frequently, when you’re facing hearing loss (no matter the variety), the first thing you should do is attempt to limit the damage. There are, after all, some simple measures you can take to protect your ears and limit additional hearing loss.
Tip 1: Clean your ears
When you were a kid, you most likely were taught that you need to wash behind your ears. But it’s inside of your ears that we’re worried about here, in terms of hearing health, not the back of your ears.
There are various ways that earwax buildup can affect your hearing:
- If you have a hearing aid, earwax can also impact that. This could make it seem as though your hearing is worsening.
- When wax buildup becomes significant, it can block soundwaves from reaching your inner ear. When this occurs you won’t be capable of hearing as well.
- Unclean ears raise your risk of getting an ear infection, which creates inflammation that when severe enough, disrupts your ability to hear. Your hearing will usually go back to normal when the infection is gone.
A cotton swab is absolutely not the right tool to use to clear any earwax that you may have noticed out and is strongly discouraged. Cotton swabs can cause damage and will almost always worsen the situation. Over-the-counter ear drops are recommended instead.
Tip 2: Very loud sounds should be avoided
This one is so instinctive it almost shouldn’t be on this list. But what precisely constitutes a “loud sound”? For instance, freeway travel can be loud enough to harm your ears over a long amount of time. The engine on your lawnmower can be very taxing on your ears, also. As you can see, it isn’t only blasting speakers or loud rock concerts that damage your ears.
Some useful ways to avoid harmful noises include:
- When decibel levels get to a dangerous volume, you can make use of an app on your phone to alert you.
- When you need to be in a noisy environment, use hearing protection. Do you work on the floor of a loud factory? It’s fine if you want to attend that rock concert. But use the necessary ear protection. You can get enough protection with modern earmuffs and earplugs.
- Refraining from turning up the volume on your headphones when you’re watching videos or listening to tunes. When approaching dangerous levels, most headphones have a built-in warning.
The damage to your ears from loud noises will accumulate slowly. So, even if your hearing “feels” fine after a noisy event, that doesn’t mean it is. Only if you come in for a hearing exam can we give your ears a clean bill of health.
Tip 3: Address any hearing loss you may have
In most situations, hearing loss accumulates gradually over an extended period of time. You’ll be in a better position to protect against further damage if you recognize your hearing loss early. That’s why treatment is tremendously important in terms of minimizing hearing loss. Your hearing will be in the best position if you get treatment and implement it.
Treatment works like this:
- Hearing aids prevent the brain strain and social isolation that worsen hearing loss-related health conditions.
- Hearing aids can stop some, but not all, damage. For example, hearing aids will prevent you from cranking your television volume up so loud it becomes harmful. Because hearing aids counter this damage, they can also prevent further deterioration of your hearing.
- When you come in and see us we will give you individualized instructions and advice to help you avoid additional damage to your ears.
In the long run, you will be helped by using hearing aids
While we know that hearing loss can’t be cured, hearing specialists are working hard to limit additional harm to your ears. Treatment of hearing loss is typically one of the primary approaches to that. Your current level of hearing will be preserved and hearing loss will be prevented from getting worse with the correct treatment.
You’re taking the appropriate measures to prevent hearing loss and put yourself in the best situation to continue to have healthy hearing if you practice good hygiene, use ear protection, and come see us for regular hearing exams.