Geneva Hearing Services - Geneva, IL

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

Hearing loss is not necessarily inevitable, despite the fact that it is quite common. The reality is, the majority of adults will start to detect a change in their hearing as they age. Even small differences in your hearing will be able to be noticed after years of hearing sound. Prevention is the best way of controlling the extent of the loss and how quickly it progresses, which is the case with most things in life. There are some things you can do now that will impact your hearing later in your life. You should consider it now because you can still protect against further loss of hearing. What can you do to stop your hearing loss from becoming worse?

Learn About Your Hearing Loss

Recognizing what causes the majority of hearing loss begins with learning how the ears work. Age-related hearing loss, known medically as presbycusis, affects one in every three people in this country from 64 to 74. It is an accumulation of damage to the ears over the years. Presbycusis starts slowly and then gets progressively worse.

Sound waves reach the inner ear only after having been amplified several times by the ear canal. Chemicals are secreted after being bumped into by little hairs, which are in turn shaken by incoming sound waves. These chemicals are translated by the brain into electrical signals, which are then “heard” by the brain as sound.

The drawback to all this movement and vibrating is that the hair cells eventually break down and stop working. When these hair cells are destroyed, they are gone for good. If you lose those tiny hairs, there are no chemicals released to create the electrical signal which the brain translates as sound.

So, what leads to this damage to the hair cells? It can be considerably magnified by several factors but it can be expected, to some degree, as a part of aging. The term “volume” refers to the power of sound waves. The louder the volume, the more powerful the sound wave and the bigger the impact on the hair cells.

Direct exposure to loud noise isn’t the only factor to consider. Chronic sicknesses like high blood pressure and diabetes have an affect, as well.

Protecting Your Hearing

You need to depend on good hearing hygiene to take care of your ears over time. Sound volume presents the biggest problem. Sound is much more unsafe when it’s at a higher volume or decibel level. It doesn’t take as much as you might think to lead to hearing damage. You shouldn’t have to raise your voice to talk over another sound. If you do that sound is too loud.

Your hearing can be impaired later on by even a couple of loud minutes and even more so by continued exposure. Taking precautions when you expect to be subjected to loud sound, fortunately, is pretty easy. Use hearing protection when you:

  • Go to a performance
  • Do something where the noise is loud.
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Run power equipment

Headphones, earbuds, and other accessories designed to isolate and amplify sound should be avoided. The old-fashioned way is a less dangerous way to partake of music and that means at a lower volume.

Manage The Noise Around You

Even the items in your house can make enough noise to become an issue over time. Nowadays, appliances and other home devices have noise ratings. Try to use appliances that have a lower noise rating.

Don’t worry about speaking up if the noise gets too loud when you are at a restaurant or party. The host of the party, or maybe even the restaurant manager might be willing to help accommodate for your issue.

Be Aware of Noise Levels at Work

Take steps to safeguard your hearing if your job subjects you to loud noises. Invest in your own hearing protection if it’s not provided by your boss. Here are several products that will protect your ears:

  • Earplugs
  • Earmuffs
  • Headphones

There’s a good chance that if you mention your concern, your boss will listen.

Quit Smoking

There are lots of good reasons to quit smoking and you can add hearing loss to the list. Studies show that cigarette smokers are much more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. Second-hand smoke can also speed up hearing loss.

All The Medications That You Take Should be Closely Examined

Ototoxic medications are known to cause damage to your ears. Some common culprits include:

  • Cardiac medication
  • Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
  • Aspirin
  • Narcotic analgesics
  • Diuretics
  • Certain antibiotics

The complete list is quite a bit longer than this and contains prescription medication and over the counter medicines. Read the label of any pain relievers you buy and use them only when necessary. Ask your doctor first if you are uncertain.

Be Good to Your Body

To slow down hearing loss it’s particularly important, as you get older, to do the normal things that keep you healthy, like eating right and exercising. Do what is required to deal with your high blood pressure like taking your medication and reducing salt consumption. 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 loss.

If you think you hear ringing in your ears or if you have some hearing loss, get your hearing tested. The sooner you realize there is a problem, the sooner you can do something about it, like getting hearing aids. Schedule an appointment with a hearing expert to keep any issues from getting worse. It’s never too late.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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