How to Prevent Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be a worrying prospect. It might not be a life threatening disease, an economic crisis, or the heat death of the universe, but if it’s something on your horizon, it’s only fair to be worried about it.

You might be looking at ways to prevent hearing loss – and justifiably so – since once your hearing is gone, there is no process known to man that can restore it. If you’re on the hunt for ways to stop your hearing from degrading, look no further than this very article. Here are our 9 ways to prevent hearing loss.

While this article can help you stop your hearing loss from progressing further, if you suspect that you already have some degree of hearing loss, it would be worth having a hearing test. To arrange one for free, you can fill out our quick form, and you’ll be directed to a hearing specialist near you.

Avoid loud noise

We’ll start with the most obvious one – if you’re trying to save your hearing, do your best to avoid loud noise. In the same way that not staring at the sun is good for your eyes, and not ingesting acid is good for your mouth, doing your best to limit the amount of loud noise you experience is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your ears.

Wear hearing protection

Except when it’s impossible to avoid. You never have to stare at the sun, and hopefully you’ll never be forced to drink acid, but you may live a lifestyle where loud noise is as necessary as drinking water – whether it’s part of your commute, some power tools you use, or you just love heavy metal gigs.

If this is the case, then you’ll want proper hearing protection. This protection could be as simple as single-use earplugs for a night out, or industrial, pressurized earmuffs for long days on a construction site.

Also, if the sound levels in your work environment reach above an 85 dB limit, your workplace is obligated to provide appropriate resources, like hearing protection and free hearing exams.

Turn it down!

It’s easy to see industrial machinery or a rock band causing damage to your ears, but if you really want to take care of your ears, you’ll need to be aware of any loud noise you’re exposed to. It can be tricky to gauge sometimes, since it’s not like blenders and vacuum cleaners boast their decibel output as one of their crowning features.

If you look hard enough, though, you will be able to find it. For example, when buying a product online, search the page for “dB,” which will get you to the sound output. It’s usually tucked away in a section of otherwise uninteresting information, but it’s almost always there.

Finding a product that produces a sound under 80 dB will be a big benefit in protecting your ears. Also, remember to keep an eye (or ear) on your TV and headphone output, and keep those under 80 dB as well. All TVs are different, so we can’t give a strict rule on where to keep the volume, but do your best to be conscious of your daily sound intake.

Don’t put anything into your ear

There are few things that can feel as cathartic as digging out chunks of earwax with a cotton swab – but there are few things as destructive to your ears. To put it simply, putting foreign objects into your ear canal is a really bad idea.

The skin in your ear canal is very thin, so it’s very easy to break, which can lead to infection. And if you go deep enough, you could end up rupturing your own ear drum.

Cleaning your ears

There’s no rule of thumb here – we can’t tell you it’s safe up to a certain depth or a certain amount of force applied. Just don’t put things into your ear – it’s as simple as that.

Get prompt treatment for ear infections

Speak of the devil. Ear infections are not a good time, and they don’t just happen to children. They’re certainly more common in younger demographics, but anyone can suffer from an ear infection.

If you find yourself struggling with pain in your ear, then do not delay. If you’re afflicted with an ear infection, it won’t go away by itself. The longer you let it sit, the more you put yourself at risk of permanent hearing loss.

So if you notice any kind of pain or problem with your ear, get it looked at. The sooner you’re put on a course of antibiotics, the better chance you have of recovering without damaging your hearing.

Ask about any medication

And speaking of antibiotics, it’s worth mentioning medication in general: there are some drugs, known as “ototoxic drugs,” that can wreak havoc on your inner ear.

Ototoxicity can come from all sorts of places, like antibiotics, chemotherapy agents, and even aspirin, so when you’re being prescribed a medication, you should always ask if it’s ototoxic. If it is, it’s worth asking for a reduced dosage or an alternate medication.

However, if there are no other options, we recommend following your doctor’s orders. The conditions calling for these medications are typically serious, and should take precedence over your hearing.

Don’t smoke or drink

While you might not be able to avoid all ototoxic drugs, there are some things with similarly detrimental effects on your ears that are a bit more black and white. Tobacco and alcohol have both been recorded to have negative effects on the ear.

For some people this is easier said than done, since these substances can be real addictions. But you should absolutely do your best to avoid either of these substances – or at least cut down on consumption – since the effect they have on the inner ear can be devastating.

Keep a good diet

Just a good rule for life, to be honest. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that healthy, nutritional food is good for your ears, just as it’s good for your eyes, brain, stomach, bones, muscles, heart, and lungs.

Good diet

And your stomach, teeth, throat, mind, skin, hair, mood, liver, throat, pancreas, mouth, and life! We know a healthy diet isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially coming off of a diet of fun indulgence, but it’s a great step towards a healthier and happier life for you and your ears.

Wear your hearing aids

If you already have hearing loss and have since been prescribed hearing aids, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and your hearing is to keep wearing them. You may only have mild or moderate hearing loss, and while that can’t be cured, it can at least be stopped before it gets worse.

If you don’t wear your hearing aid, and instead have to strain to hear what people are saying, you could risk making your hearing even worse. So if you’ve been prescribed hearing aids, you must consistently wear them.

Overall

There’s no get-rich-quick scheme when it comes to preventing your hearing loss. It’s all small steps and changes that you have to make (and stick to) throughout your days and weeks.

But remember, if you think you have hearing loss, and don’t have hearing aids, then you should, at the very least, get a hearing test. If you’d like a free one, use our form, and you’ll be able to book a free hearing test with a hearing specialist near you.

Duncan Lambden

Duncan Lambden

Writer

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses. Duncan has been working alongside Florida-based audiologist Lindsey Banks, Au.D., to make sure that Everyday Hearing has the most up-to-date content.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kearney says:

    Speaking of a good diet, scientists have conducted studies that proved the connection between obesity and hearing loss.
    One of the biggest common denominators is blood flow. Our ears are metabolically active. They need a steady stream of blood, in order to properly function. Those who suffer from weight gain, and specifically obesity, have much more narrow blood vessels. This causes a chain reaction. Here’s an article I found interesting. Check it out: http://www.hearlink.com.au/industry-news/relationship-obesity-hearing-loss/

  2. It’s interesting to know that avoid smoking is a good way to prevent hearing loss. My husband and I are thinking that my father might be starting to show signs of hearing loss, and we are looking for advice. I will let him know about your recommendations to help him prevent hearing loss.

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