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

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

Hearing loss is normal for most people, but does it have to be that way? As they age, most adults will begin to recognize a change in their hearing. That change is just the effect of many years of listening to sound. Prevention is the best method of controlling the extent of the loss and how rapidly it advances, which is the case with most things in life. Your hearing will be affected later in life by the choices you make now. It’s never too soon to start or too late to care when it comes to hearing health. What can you do to prevent your hearing loss from becoming worse?

Understanding Hearing Loss

Recognizing what causes the majority of hearing loss begins with learning how the ears work. Age-related hearing loss, medically known as presbycusis, affects one in every three people in America from 64 to 74. It is a cumulation of damage to the ears over the years. Presbycusis is slight at first and then gets worse over time.

Sound enters the ear in pressure waves that are amplified a number of times before they finally reach the inner ear. As it arrives, the sound vibrates tiny hairs cells, causing them to bump structures that release chemicals to create an electrical message which the brain interprets as sound.

The drawback to all this movement and bumping is the hair cells eventually break down and stop working. These hair cells don’t fix themselves, either, so once gone, they don’t come back. If there are no little hairs, there are no chemicals released to generate the electrical signal which the brain translates as sound.

So, what brings about this deterioration of the hair cells? There are several contributing factors including ordinary aging. How powerful a sound wave is, is known as “volume”. The louder the volume, the stronger the sound wave and the bigger the impact on the hair cells.

There are some other factors aside from exposure to loud noise. Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes have an affect, as well.

Safeguarding Your Hearing

Consistent hearing hygiene is a big part of taking care of your hearing over time. The volume of sound is the biggest problem. Sound is measured using decibels and the higher the decibel the more hazardous the noise. You may believe that it takes a very loud volume to cause injury, but it doesn’t. A noise is too loud if you have to raise your voice to talk over it.

Your hearing can be affected later on by even a few loud minutes and even more so by constant exposure. Taking precautions when you expect to be subjected to loud sound, luckily, is pretty easy. Use hearing protection when you:

  • Participate in loud activities.
  • Go to a concert
  • Run power tools
  • Ride a motorcycle

Headphones, earbuds, and other accessories designed to isolate and amplify sound should be avoided. A reduced volume should be chosen and use conventional speakers.

Control The Noise Around You

Enough noise can be produced, even by every-day household sounds, to become a hearing threat over time. When you buy an appliance for your house, consider the noise rating of the product. Try to use appliances that have a lower noise rating.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if the noise gets too loud when you’re at a restaurant or party. A restaurant manager might be willing to turn the background music down for you or even move you to another table away from loud speakers or clanging dishes.

Be Conscious of Noise When You Are at Work

Take the proper steps to safeguard your hearing if your job exposes you to loud noises. If your boss doesn’t provide hearing protection, invest in your own. Here are several products that can protect your ears:

  • Earmuffs
  • Headphones
  • Earplugs

Your employer will probably be willing to listen if you bring up your concerns.

Give up Smoking

Hearing damage is yet another good reason to stop smoking. Studies demonstrate that smokers are much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. This is true if you are exposed to second-hand smoke, as well.

Double Check Medications

Certain medications are ototoxic, meaning they damage your hearing. Several common culprits include:

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

This list is a mix of over-the-counter products and prescription medications and it doesn’t cover all of them. Only use pain relievers if you really need them and be sure to read all of the labels. Ask your doctor first if you are unsure.

Take Good Care of Your Health

Exercising and eating right are things you should do anyway but they are also important to your hearing health as well. Decrease the amount of sodium 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 problems.

If you have hearing loss or if you hear ringing in your ears, get your hearing tested. The sooner you acknowledge you have a problem, the sooner you can do something about it, such as getting hearing aids. It’s never too late to take care of your ears, so if you notice any change, even a small one, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional to find out what you can do to keep it from getting more serious.

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