Your ears are very sensitive, and once your hearing is damaged it’s likely to be permanent. That’s why prevention is better than treatment in most cases. While hearing loss can be caused by a number of medical conditions, many types of hearing loss can be attributed to lifestyle and work-related noise exposure.
How can you protect your hearing for a lifetime?
Remove excess moisture from your ears
Water in the ears can cause bacteria to develop in the ear canal. This is commonly known as the ‘swimmers ear.’ These types of infections can attack the inner ear and compromise your hearing. An infection will need to be treated by a medical professional. After swimming or bathing dry your ears out. If you can feel the water in your ears, tip your head to one side until you can feel it run out.
Visit a hearing specialist
Don’t wait until you have a problem with your ears until you visit an audiologist. Treat it as you would any other routine medical check-up. A regular hearing test could spot potential issues early so you can get treatment, replace hearing aids and have any waxy build-up removed.
Use hearing protection
Exposure to loud noises at home or work can cause you to develop noise-related hearing loss. You should use the right level of hearing protection for every situation. There a different types you can use such as customized earplugs or over-ear models.
Your employer should provide you with the relevant equipment for the noise levels. But it’s not just work-related noise, it can also be caused by attending loud music events and nightclubs, or using DIY and gardening equipment. If you’re not sure if something is too loud, it probably is so have some hearing protection on hand.
Turn your headphones down
It’s easy to get lost in the music, but don’t play it too loud. Noise-induced hearing loss is a huge problem with younger people. Using earbuds can make this worse as they are closer to your eardrum so try and use over-ear models if possible.
Don’t try and clean your inner ears
Cleaning your ears can sometimes do more harm than good. Don’t use cue tips and push them into your inner ear, it can actually push the wax further in and make it more difficult to hear. Instead, clean your ears with a damp cloth and if you think you have a build-up of wax get some ear drops or visit a specialist for an ear cleaning.
When you’re stressed, it can cause a series of physical symptoms including tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears. It can also make existing tinnitus worse. Learning to reduce and manage your stress levels isn’t only good for your hearing but for your general health and wellbeing too.
We each have a part to play in looking after our hearing. By being sensible, taking precautions, and getting your hearing checked regularly, you’re less likely to develop preventable hearing loss.