Why You Should Protect Your Hearing
By Top-Rated Charlotte Audiologist, Dr. Gosu
Hearing is an important function, a fact which becomes infinitely clearer as a result of hearing loss. Those who suffer from hearing loss are in all age groups and experience a wide range of difficulties. An excellent consideration in everyday circumstances is the determination to protect hearing and help to avoid hearing loss as well as all of the struggles that go along with it.
Common Results of Untreated Hearing Loss
When hearing loss goes untreated, there are many negative effects that commonly occur. The more you know about loss of hearing, the more you realize that protecting your hearing is a much better option than experiencing permanent loss of the hearing function. The following are normal results of living with untreated hearing loss:
- Desire to avoid social settings
- Negative attitudes
- Anger and irritability
- Fatigue, tension, and stress
- Unsafe situations as a result of decreased alertness
- Lower job performance
- Difficulty following directions and remembering things
Causes of Hearing Loss
The most common cause of hearing loss is age-related, and excessive noise exposure is a threat at every age. What goes on in the ear to result in hearing loss? This is a good question that can help understand about the cause.
The three primary parts of the ear are the outer, middle, and inner ear. The outer ear opens into the ear canal. The ear canal and the middle ear are separated by the eardrum. Tiny bones in the middle ear help to transfer sound vibrations to the inner ear. Those vibrations are translated into nerve impulses, which the brain then interprets and identifies as a voice, a wind chime, music, and etcetera.
Noise that is too loud begins a process of killing the nerve endings in the inner ear. As a result of prolonged exposure to loud noises, the nerve endings are destroyed. Hearing dissipates as more and more nerve endings are permanently damaged. The closer you are to a source of intense noise, the greater the amount of damage that is done.
Tips to Protect your Hearing
Wondering how to protect your hearing? Since hearing loss caused by excessive noise is preventable, it’s very smart to take steps to protect your ears. The following are ways to protect your hearing:
- When around loud noises, such as chainsaws and lawnmowers, wear earplugs.
- Follow a 60/60 rule for headphone use. Use no more than 60% of the volume for no more than 60 minutes per day.
- Do not use cotton swabs in your ears because doing so can damage your ear drum and it interferes with the self-cleaning ear, which involves the presence of earwax.
- Keep your ears dry because too much moisture allows bacteria to attack your ear canal. Gently towel dry after swimming or bathing. When you feel water in your ear, tilt your head to the side and coax out the water by tugging on your ear lobe.
- After prolonged exposure to loud noises, get away from the noise and allow your ears to recover. To recover from one noisy event, 16 hours of quiet is recommended.
- Get plenty of exercise because it’s good for the ears as well as the rest of your body. Keep moving so that the internal parts of your ears stay healthy.
- Have your ears checked regularly, since hearing loss develops gradually. An annual hearing consultation with a healthcare professional is recommended.
Untreated hearing loss ultimately detracts from the quality of life, including the strength of relationships. Health concerns such as heart disease, dementia, and depression are all linked to loss of hearing. What’s your best reason to protect the hearing function?