Hearing loss isn’t entirely preventable, but by following a few important steps, you can help preserve your body’s natural hearing abilities as you age.
Since there is no cure for hearing loss, prevention is the most important step to keeping your ears in good shape through the years.
Even those who suffer from hearing loss are at risk for further damage to their hearing abilities. Since hearing loss can be detrimental to your lifestyle and relationships, understanding how to successfully prevent it is vitally important for people of any age.
Tips for Hearing Loss Prevention
- Avoid loud noise. You know that concerts, power tools, and other shockingly loud noises can damage your ears, but many people are surprised at exactly how loud is too loud. Any time you need to shout to be heard by those around you, the surrounding noise is likely too loud for your ears. In situations you can control, it’s always best to lower the volume, stay back from the speaker or otherwise avoid loud noises whenever possible.
- Wear protective gear. In those situations in which you can’t avoid loud noise, ensure you always wear earplugs or other protective gear such as headphones or earmuffs. If you’re planning on attending a concert, going to a sports game, using power tools or engaging in any other potentially loud activities, put a pair of noise-reducing earplugs in your purse or pocket to ensure you don’t permanently damage your hearing.
- Consider your ears as equal. Some people tend to only protect the ear that they feel is most exposed to noise, but in many cases, this is not enough. Whether you’re using earplugs, earmuffs, or even hearing aids, put devices in both ears to truly protect your hearing and prevent long-term damage.
- Get your hearing checked regularly. The sooner hearing loss is identified as a problem, the more successful you’ll be at treating it. If you allow your mild hearing loss to go undiagnosed, it can easily progress to moderate or even severe hearing problems. If you’re one of the millions of people concerned about your hearing or over the age of 50, you should schedule annual hearing tests with your audiologist.
- Remove earwax safely. Earwax is often considered an annoyance, but the sticky, gooey substance is actually produced to protect your ear. Along with opening up your ear canals to harmful dirt and foreign objects, using cotton swabs or other small, pointed instruments to remove earwax can actually damage your eardrums and create hearing loss.
- Don’t smoke. Though the connection between smoking and hearing loss is still being studied, the bad habit is consistently correlated with increased risk of hearing loss. Amongst the many other reasons to quit smoking, preserving your hearing is an important motivation to give up cigarettes once and for all.
- Avoid medications that can harm your hearing. Treating major medical problems is vital to your overall health and longevity, but many patients needlessly take medications that can harm their hearing over time. If you’re concerned about your hearing or that of a loved one, check with your doctor about the side effects of any new medications.