How to Prevent Your Hearing Loss From Getting Worse

There are many things you can do to prevent your hearing loss from worsening.

There could be as many as 48 million Americans living with some degree of hearing loss, about 1 in 5 people. Many people associate hearing loss with aging, an effect that does occur, but it’s a cause that’s sometimes attributed incorrectly.

For example, someone who experiences hearing loss in their 60s could have age-related hearing loss, though if they’ve spent their entire working life in a loud factory setting, it’s more likely their work environment caused damage due to noise exposure.

There are reasons for hearing loss that aren’t preventable, such as genetics, and if you’ve already suffered some loss, there may be no way to recover. However, everyone can take certain steps to protect their hearing and prevent further loss. The most common preventable causes of hearing loss are noise-induced hearing loss and ototoxic medications.

Noise-induced hearing loss

Loud sounds are a threat to your long-term hearing, and you may be surprised how quiet “loud” is when it comes to your hearing. The effects of noise can be cumulative over time, so a single exposure to any loud sound may not leave a noticeable effect, but the same noise experienced regularly could lead to long-term permanent damage.

The generally accepted upper limit for safe, unlimited exposure to noise, whether it’s environmental, industrial, or music, is 85 decibels (dB). To put that in perspective, traffic noise inside a car is about 80 dB, and outside the car it could hover around 85 dB in a busy city.

Above 85 dB, hearing damage can occur after a certain amount of time. The louder the sound, the shorter the exposure time before hearing damage is likely. A leaf blower comes in about 90 dB, and you can experience this noise level for two hours without hearing damage. A rock concert can top 110 dB, and hearing damage can start in as little as two minutes at this volume.

You’ve got two options to protect yourself from harmful noise levels. The most obvious is avoidance. This may not be possible if you work in a noisy environment, so the second option becomes necessary.

Hearing protection that’s effective enough to reduce noise to 85 dB or less is the safest way to approach the issue. Common hearing protection methods include noise-abating headphones, foam earplugs, and ear valves that shut out exposure to loud sounds.

Ototoxic medications

Some medications have side effects that can include hearing loss. More than 450 medications have tinnitus recognized as a side effect. These exist in most drug classifications. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily a symptom of hearing loss. In fact, most of these medications cause short-term effects that disappear when you stop taking the drug.

However, there are substances known to have a toxic effect on ears and hearing. The most common include:

If you already have hearing loss, having a set of professionally fitted hearing aids can help preserve your remaining hearing. Wearing your hearing aids reduces the need to turn up levels of music or television, keeping ambient noise levels well below the 85 dB level.

Contact Professional Hearing Aid Service for up-to-date hearing tests and proper fitting of the right assistive device for you. Call today for a consultation.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Hearing Aids Could Help That Ringing Sound in Your Ear

Ringing, buzzing, or droning in your ears can quickly raise your stress levels or destroy your concentration. Called tinnitus, these are phantom sounds that create all too real problems. Hearing aids can help mask the annoying sounds of tinnitus.

How to Tell if You Have Tinnitus

You may think you’re going crazy, but the ringing and humming only you can hear may be a sign of tinnitus. Though not usually caused by a serious health issue, the phantom sounds can affect your quality of life and should be evaluated and treated.

Adjusting to Life With Hearing Aids

Adjusting to life with hearing aids can be somewhat more involved than other assistive devices, like eyeglasses. The programming, flexibility, and options afforded by contemporary hearing aids make better hearing a truly customized experience.

Top Causes of Hearing Loss and How to Avoid Them

Your hearing is at risk every day — and from many sources. You can, however, take steps to protect your ears from the many common threats to your hearing that can accumulate over time. Not all hearing loss is avoidable, but you can reduce your risk.