Preventing Hearing Loss
Not all forms of hearing loss are in any way preventable but there are some forms of sensorineural hearing loss that are. Noise is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to hearing loss. Every day millions of people are subjected to – or subject themselves to – high levels of noise that can damage their hearing. But because very often the damage takes place over a long period of time and the effect on normal hearing is gradual many people do not realize they have a problem until it is too late.
Signs of Noise Related Hearing Loss
The following may all be signs that you are suffering from noise related hearing loss:
- You cannot hear someone speak clearly if they are more than three or four feet away from you.
- After you leave a very noisy area, or turn off your personal music player (the kind with headphones) you have pain in your ears.
- You hear ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears after exposure to noise. This is commonly known as tinnitus.
- After exposure to loud noise you have some difficulties understanding what people are saying to you. You can hear their speech but it does not make sense.
What You Can Do to Prevent Hearing Loss
Certain simple, common sense measures can go a long way towards protecting and preserving your ability to hear clearly. Keeping this tips in mind can help you hear more clearly for longer and prevent permanent damage to your ears:
- If you work in a noisy environment there are government guidelines that lay down rules for ear protection. Take the time to find out what those are and if it seems they are not being adhered to in your workplace speak to a supervisor about the issue. If you are advised to use ear protection at work by your employer make sure you follow that recommendation, its for your own good.
- If you are attending a very noisy event – a music concert or a live sporting event for example – wear some form of ear protection. You can usually find small foam ear plugs in most drug stores and they will not cut the noise out completely but provide a safety cushion between your ears and the damaging noise levels. You should also wear the same protection if you are using loud tools around the home or garden.
- If you regularly use a personal music player like an iPod then try to replace the in ear headphones that these players usually come with with a pair of headphones that sit outside the ear instead. Keep the volume at a reasonable level as well.
- Cut down on environmental noise at home. Try to keep the TV at a lower volume and do not run several noisy appliances all at one time.
- Be aware of the fact that certain medications can damage your hearing so you should ask your doctor about the potential effects on your hearing of any medications they might prescribe.
Following these simple tips, as well as getting a regular hearing screening at your annual medical checkup, can help you keep more of your ability to hear for longer so making the extra effort really is worthwhile.