Hearing loss is not always preventable, but there are some things you can do to reduce your likelihood of having hearing loss. Here are 8 tips for keeping your ears healthy and your hearing sharp.
1. Avoid extremely loud sounds
Excessive noise exposure is one of the most common cause of hearing loss. If possible, reducing exposure to extremely loud noise will drastically reduce your likelihood of hearing loss. Some examples of extremely loud sounds to avoid include: gunfire, power tools, jet engine, explosives, rock concert, large sporting event etc.
2. Wear hearing protection
When it is not possible to avoid loud noises, it is important that you wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears. The tiny hair cells in the inner ear are very sensitive to loud noises. Once enough of those hair cells are damaged, a permanent hearing loss will occur.
If you are exposed to any of the extremely loud sounds listed above, it is crucial that you wear hearing protection. Other examples of earplug-worthy loud noises include:
- music/dance clubs
3. Turn it down
There are several household appliances and sounds that you are exposed to every day that may be too loud. When purchasing items like blenders, hair dryers, food processors, vacuum cleaners, or children's toys, it is important to pay attention to the decibel level these appliances put out.
Choose to buy an appliance with a lower output level and turn down the volume on your personal music players and televisions.
4. Don't put anything in your ear
Attempting to clean your ears or sticking foreign objects in your ears will cause a greater likelihood of ear infections and/or injury to the ear. If you cause physical injury to your ear, it can result in hearing loss.
A simple rule of thumb is just don't stick anything in your ear.
5. Get prompt treatment for ear infections
Otitis media, an infection of the middle ear, is more common in children but can occur in adulthood as well. More frequent ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss.
If an ear infection is left untreated for an extended time period, more damage to the ear can occur. If you suspect an ear infection, see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible.
6. Ask about your medication
Certain medications such as some antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy agents, and high doses of aspirin can affect the ears. These are called ototoxic medications because they are toxic to the ear.
Ask your doctor if a medication you are taking is ototoxic and if it is, whether there is an alternative medication that can be used. If not, ask if the dosage can be safely reduced.
7. Don't smoke
Tobacco smoke has been linked to hearing loss. If you smoke, protecting your hearing may be a reason to quit. If you don't smoke, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
8. Keep a good diet
Recent studies are revealing that people who consume better quality calories have better hearing and that poor diets can lead to a greater chance of hearing loss. If you are looking for motivation to eat healthy….do it for your hearing!
Hearing loss can negatively affect your quality of life. Even though you may not be able to control all aspects of hearing loss, there are several ways that you can be proactive about preventing hearing loss.