With 2/3 of those experiencing hearing loss under the age of 65, it’s not just senior citizens who are at risk of hearing loss, so taking steps today in order to preserve our hearing health is absolutely vital to ensure that our ears stay in tip-top shape for tomorrow. Follow these 10 easy tips and you will be well on your way to protecting your hearing health.
Tip #1 Avoid loud and prolonged noises
Both extremely loud noises and moderately loud noises over an extended period of time can cause damage to your hearing. This can include things like lawnmowers, motorcycles, listening to music, and football games. When possible, avoid situations where you are exposed to these loud noises, turn down the volume, or wear suitable ear protection.
Tip #2 Wear suitable ear protection
This goes right along with tip #1: if you absolutely can’t avoid the loud noises or turn the volume down, proper ear protection is necessary. Suitable ear protection can come in many forms such as earplugs, ear molds, noise-canceling headphones, earmuffs, or wadding materials. Keep ear protection in places where loud noises are most common, like in the garage near the lawnmower or in the glove box; so you don’t forget them.
Tip #3 Protect your ears
Believe it or not, your ears can be damaged by prolonged exposure to the cold weather, so remember to bring earmuffs or a hat that covers your ears in cold environments. This is also true for contact sports or laborious professions; protect your ears and your head from trauma as much as possible. Always wear a helmet when playing contact sports, or working jobs like construction.
Tip #4 Keep your body in optimal health
Just like with other parts of your body, your ears are also affected by your overall health. Making poor lifestyle choices like smoking, bad nutritional choices, increased stress, and leading a sedentary lifestyle can all have a negative impact on your hearing. Not only will your ears be happier with better life choices, but the rest of your body will thank you as well.
Tip #5 Be aware of your family history
Some hearing conditions can be genetic, so know what hearing ailments run in your family. If you are aware of what conditions these are, you can be on the lookout for early warning signs. Typically, the earlier you start intervention and treatment; the better the prognosis.
Tip #6 Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of hearing loss
Knowing and recognizing what the signs and symptoms of hearing loss are, will ensure that you know when it is time to get tested. It is often difficult to tell when our hearing starts to deteriorate because it is not immediate, but familiarize yourself with the signs, and if you think you may be experiencing any of them, schedule a hearing test as soon as possible; it is quick and painless.
Tip #7 Listen to your friends and family
Sometimes, even when you are aware of the symptoms, it can be difficult to recognize them in yourself. Listen to your loved ones, more often then not, they will be aware of when your hearing has become compromised. They will notice when you ask them to speak up or repeat themselves. Do yourself a favor and take their advice if they ask you to get tested.
Tip #8 Get tested regularly
We all know that annual exams are necessary in order to know that our bodies are running at their best. Why aren’t we getting our hearing tested annually as well? According to the CDC, untreated hearing loss can lead to more serious health problems like anxiety, heart disease, and dementia. Scheduling regular hearing exams will keep you up-to-date with your hearing health, and raise any possible issues before its too late.
Tip #9 Know and use your results
Your audiology team will help you to understand the results of your hearing test. Be sure to ask any questions if you don’t understand, and be sure to follow any advice that the experts give. Having the exam is pointless if you don’t use the results to their fullest advantage.
Tip #10 Hear better with your hearing aid
Your hearing exam results confirmed that you would hear best with hearing aids, when going over your options, be thorough, and ask questions to ensure that you make the best selection. When you receive your new hearing aids, use them! The more you use them and become comfortable with them, the more they will benefit you and your life. 8 out of 10 hearing aid wearers say their quality of life has vastly improved.
Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas’ most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.