Protecting our five senses is important, as they help us navigate the world around us. When it comes to our hearing, there can be serious long-term effects if it is damaged. This is why it is critical to raise awareness about hearing loss, particularly prevention and early diagnosis. In some high-risk individuals, it may be necessary to work with a hearing care center to help them maintain hearing health.
Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss
1. Avoid Long Exposure to Loud Noises
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is pretty common in U.S. adults. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, as much as 24% of individuals aged 20 to 69 years old suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. The high number is mainly due to constant exposure to loud noises in the environment, either in work or leisure environments. Individuals who cannot avoid prolonged exposure should instead use earplugs to help reduce the volume of the sound that would travel to the ears. These earplugs can be custom-fitted for increased protection.
2. Practice Precaution With Medications
Some drugs, such as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, can be toxic to the ears. Individuals at high risk of hearing loss issues due to genetics and age should discuss with their healthcare providers about their medication’s ototoxicity. In such cases, attending physicians may need to use an alternative drug or adjust the dosage to prevent hearing loss.
3. Prevent Ear Moisture
One of the common causes of hearing loss can be an ear infection. When the ears are constantly wet, it can encourage bacteria to grow. Make it a habit to towel dry the ears after each bath, and particularly after swimming. If the ear canal still has water, tilting the head to the side and pulling the earlobe lightly can help drain the water out. If swimming is part of daily routine, having a custom-fit swimmer’s earplugs can help prevent water from getting into the ear canal.
4. Engage In Exercise
Unknown to many, exercise is critical in ensuring healthy hearing. Cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, cycling, and running, can encourage the blood to circulate the body, including the ears. When this happens, the internal components of the ears can work at optimal levels. Always exercise with caution, though, especially when cycling since a fall or concussion can also affect hearing.
5. Manage Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety can play a role in causing tinnitus or ringing in the ears. In most cases, severe stress can force your body to undergo fight and flight mode, which can cause pressure on the nerves and cause tinnitus. Those feeling stressed may need to adjust their lifestyle to protect their hearing.
6. Avoid Cotton Swabs
As much as possible, avoid using cotton swabs to clean earwax out of your ears. The ears are actually self-cleaning, and removing the wax means ridding your body of protection from harmful particles that may enter the canal and damage the ears. Plus, cotton swabs can only push any foreign materials further down into the canal. If there is a need to remove excess wax, using an ear wax removal solution may help soften the wax so that it can drain out of the ear easily.
7. Have Regular Ear Checkups
As people age, the risk of hearing loss is higher. It would help prevent any severe hearing loss if you include hearing screenings in your checkups. Annual hearing tests can help you determine if your hearing is still okay or if it is gradually declining. This practice helps you recognize the signs and take preventative measures to prevent them from worsening.
Hearing health is often among the most overlooked components of our health despite it being one of the most important aspects of our life. Hearing loss can affect the quality of life and even relationships. Take action today and work towards your hearing health.