Nearly 15%, or 37.5 million people, suffer from hearing loss in the U.S.. The number is especially high among the aging population, particularly those above 60 years. Many things can cause hearing loss, including older age, chronic diseases, loud noise, and more. If left untreated, hearing loss can adversely affect your quality of life, including your social life and physical and mental health.
That’s why it’s critically important to protect your hearing to reduce your risk of developing hearing loss later in life. While not all causes of hearing loss can be avoided, some can be prevented by taking the right measures to protect your hearing. One of them is making an appointment with a professional audiologist at HearCanada, for regular hearing checkups and screenings. This can go a long way in helping prevent further hearing loss and preserve your hearing health in the long term. Here are other effective ways to protect your hearing and prevent future hearing loss:
1. Maintain Your Device’s Volume at Safe Listening Levels
More than 1.1 billion younger adults risk developing hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to high volumes on their devices. Listening to loud volumes can be more damaging to your ears, especially when using earbuds since they sit close to your eardrum. This can lead to developing tinnitus and, over time, cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.
Fortunately, this type of hearing loss can be prevented by not using your earbuds too long or too loudly. Experts recommend the 60/60 rule, which involves listening to music at no more than 60% volume and limiting the time you use your earbuds to less than 60 minutes. Instead of using earbuds, consider listening through noise-canceling headphones. Besides that, ensure to always keep the volume of your TV at a safe and comfortable level, meaning loud enough to hear without straining or damaging your hearing.
2. Wear Protective Hearing Gear
One of the leading causes of hearing loss is prolonged exposure to loud noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is especially common among people who work in factories, mining, or with heavy machinery and power tools. Other loud-noise environments include concerts and clubs. You can reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss by avoiding or limiting the time you spend in noisy environments.
Always wear protective hearing gear if you’re regularly exposed to loud noise at your workplace, like at a construction site or airport. This includes custom-made earplugs, earmuffs, and semi-insert earplugs. These devices are designed to be comfortable to wear over a prolonged period while providing adequate hearing protection.
3. Keep Your Ears Dry
When water gets trapped in your ear canal after bathing or swimming, it creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth, putting your hearing at risk. That’s because having excess moisture in your ear exposes you to infections like the swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa.
Initially, you may start experiencing itching in your ear and mild discomfort. However, if left untreated, the infection can block your ear canal completely, causing hearing loss. You should always wipe your ears after showering or swimming to eliminate water trapped inside. You can also remove any trapped water from your ears by tilting your head to the side while gently shaking your earlobe. Alternatively, the most effective way to keep water from getting into your ears is by wearing custom-fit earplugs when swimming. This will keep your ears dry and protect your hearing.
Following the tips above will help protect your hearing, reducing your risk of hearing loss in the future. The good thing is that most types of hearing loss can be treated, depending on the cause and the severity of your hearing loss. That’s why you need to visit your doctor regularly for checkups to ensure any hearing problem identified is addressed as early as possible and reduce your risk of permanent hearing loss.
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