Age-related hearing loss happens to nearly all of us as we get older. In fact, age is the most prevalent factor in hearing loss not associated with a trauma or illness, though demographic factors do come into play.
Another common factor in hearing loss is noise exposure, and while you can’t stop the aging process, you can protect your ears from further damage associated with noise.
Check out these four ways to protect your hearing as you enjoy life in and around the assisted living community in Colorado Springs.
1. Wear Hearing Protection
Consider wearing earplugs when you know you’ll be in a noisy environment, such as an airport, train station or outdoors where someone is mowing grass or blowing leaves.
Drug stores sell a selection of earplugs, or your physician may recommend a specific brand or suggest a pair of custom-made plugs. Sporting goods stores also sell earmuff-type protective gear that sits over your ears and blocks out the majority of surrounding noise. Foam earplugs are inexpensive and disposable after a few uses, so you can replace them as needed.
2. Limit Exposure to Noisy Activities
Avoid spending large amounts of time in noisy environments. Large crowds, concerts and even boat rides can become loud enough to hurt your ears. According to the Better Hearing Institute, if you have to raise your voice to talk over the sounds in the room to someone within arm’s reach, the noise is loud enough to cause damage to your hearing. Take your earplugs along or remove yourself from the situation to protect your hearing.
Monitor how long you listen to music through headphones. If you must listen, keep the sound turned down. Consider investing in a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones that block out background noises, so you don’t find yourself turning up the volume to hear.
3. Use Low-Noise Products
Noise-induced hearing loss can occur when you expose yourself to products that reach 85 dB or more, including televisions, stereos and headphones.
Buy products that have lower dB ratings or ask for low-noise products. When you’re watching TV or using headphones, keep the volume at a comfortable level. Never listen to music through headphones with the volume turned all the way up.
When listening to the television or radio without headphones, keep the sound loud enough for you to be able to hear without straining, but not so loud that you can still hear the device when you move to another room.
4. Schedule Routine Testing
Have your ears checked regularly by a health care professional. You can also ask for a baseline hearing test at your next physical. This test, called an audiogram, allows your physician to compare the results with future tests to monitor any loss of hearing. It can also detect if you already have some hearing loss.
Between visits, pay attention to your hearing. If you find you’re having difficulty hearing people when they speak to you, or you strain to hear someone on the other end of the phone, speak to your health care professional. You should also see a doctor if you ever experience any symptoms of ear pain, ringing in the ears or a feeling of fullness in the ears. All these symptoms could be signs of early hearing loss.
Taking precautionary steps can help you protect your hearing. Pay close attention to loud noises and environments and limit your exposure. Some types of hearing loss are preventable with proper strategies.