Many studies have revealed that over 48 million Americans demonstrate symptoms of hearing loss. The two main types of hearing loss are conductive and sensorineural. Each type has different causes and treatment.
It’s not easy to live your life if you have hearing loss. This is why experts often advise that hearing loss prevention is way better than cure.
Dig deeper into the prevention for hearing loss best practices and learn more about the types of hearing loss and their causes:
Sensorineural Hearing Loss-Causes and Prevention
1. Noise-Watching Football Games and Rock Concerts Live
You can expose your ear to noise during rock concerts and football games. According to experts, hair dryers alone can reach up to 90 decibels. So if you imagine yourself in these events, the explosive sound is tantamount to a jackhammer or fireworks.
You will continuously be exposed to the noise for hours. The inner ear has delicate hair cells. When you are in a noisy restaurant, games or concerts, you become more prone to catching these noises. Over time, the hair cells get damaged. Unfortunately, once they get damaged, they can never grow back, nor replaced synthetically.
There’s a better way to prevent sensorineural hearing loss caused by noise. Make it a habit to carry earplugs wherever you go. There are disposable foam plugs you can buy, or you can also opt for a custom-fit pair.
Avoid stuffing a cotton ball in your ears because it might lead to infection. Your ears also need a break. If you’re in a noisy venue, you can also search for a quiet place where your ears can rest for a few minutes.
While more expensive than regular headphones, noise-canceling headphones are worth the investment. Use them when you’re doing noisy household chores like mowing. Go easy on rock concerts as well.
2. Being Overweight
If you’ve put on some extra pounds, especially around your belly, the risk factor of developing hearing loss is also high according to the researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital research in 2013. The study shows that if you have a larger waist or more body fat, you are more likely to be prone to hearing loss than individuals with normal weight.
The solution to this is to get moving. Research suggests that walking at least two hours a week can reduce the risk of hearing loss by 15% compared to those who walk less than one hour a week.
A researcher suspected that obesity has an impact on blood flow and a person’s inner ear, hence compromising the quality of hearing. However, when there’s physical activity, the blood flow will also improve and protect the inner ear.
3. Sleep Apnea
In 2014, a study conducted by the Albany Medical Center found that people with sleep apnea have a stop-and-start breathing disorder. The disorder increases the risk of hearing loss. It has also been found that sleep apnea can also be linked to heart disease and hearing loss.
You will need to consult your care physician if you suspect that you have sleep apnea. You will be referred to a sleep specialist so you will get recommendations like changing your lifestyle or using medical devices to open your airways. You will also need to visit an audiologist to get your hearing checked.
Diabetes is another risk factor of hearing loss. For people who have prediabetes the risk of developing hearing loss is at 30%. High glucose levels can increase the risk of heart disease, which can affect the blood vessels and nerves in your inner ear.
If you’re diabetic, you need to see a doctor specializing in ear, nose, and throat so you can undergo hearing screening. You can also combat high glucose levels by exercising regularly. You’ll also need to reduce your consumption of processed foods. Replace them with vegetables, whole grains, and fish instead.
Certain medications can also damage your hearing. Even chemotherapy has been discovered to have negative effects on your hearing according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. A further study in 2016 also proved that women ages 48 to 73 who used acetaminophen and ibuprofen have a higher risk of developing hearing loss.
You can combat hearing loss caused by medications by being proactive. You will need to monitor your hearing while under medication or during the course of treatment. Speak to your doctor if you notice some changes.
Conductive Hearing Loss-Causes and Prevention
When your ear is exposed to explosive noise, there will be quick changes in air pressure as well. Another reason your ear can get infected with when you poke a cotton swab in your inner ear, which can puncture the thin tissue in your eardrum, leading to temporary hearing loss and pain.
Your eardrum, when punctured, can heal itself, but it’s best to have your ear checked by a professional. It’s also important to keep your ears dry. Using over-the-counter medications can ease the pain.
2. Earwax Buildup
The earwax is responsible for preventing harmful substances like dirt, dust, and germs from reaching your eardrum. When you have too little wax, your ears have the tendency to become itchy and dry. Your ears can become breeding ground for infection. When there’s too much ear infection, it can lead to earaches or worse, hearing loss. You may also experience tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
Since the wax moves naturally to the canal of your ears. You can simply wipe it away with a washcloth. You can also have the doctor remove it. The hearing loss prevention practice to follow is to avoid using a cotton swab or pencil as you might push the dirt deeper or puncture your eardrum.
3. Bacteria or Viruses
Another reason your ear can become more prone to hearing loss is due to viruses and bacteria. Ear infections have symptoms like common cold or allergies.
Ear infection blocks the eustachian tube which is responsible for connecting the ear to your throat. It’s blocked by inflammation and swelling. As a result, the fluid starts to build up causing your ears to experience pain, pressure, ear congestion, and hearing loss.
The infection usually heals in a few days. You can use a warm compress and over-the-counter pain medications to address the problem. If you have severe pain or fever, you may need to call your doctor as you might need to take antibiotics.
Other ways you can prevent all types of hearing loss
Don’t stick foreign objects in your ears: Don’t attempt to put anything in your ear as it can cause injury or infection. A physical injury in your ear can also lead to hearing loss.
Seek prompt treatment for ear infections: Upon discovering that you have ear infections, consult your doctor right away so you’ll be given proper medication immediately.
Pay attention to the decibel level of your appliances: Exposing your ears to noise caused by hair dryers, food processors, vacuum cleaners, and blenders can affect your ears. A noise-induced hearing loss prevention best practice is to lower the output level or turn the volume down, especially if you’re listening to music players or watching TV.
Avoid smoking: Tobacco has been considered as a contributing factor to losing your hearing. You can protect your hearing by quitting smoking. Even exposure to secondhand smoke should also be avoided.
Embark on a healthy diet: When you consume good quality food packed with nutrients, you will be reducing the likelihood of developing hearing loss according to recent studies. It’s a hearing loss prevention tip you can’t afford to ignore.
Taking good care of your ears lets you use your sense of hearing longer without any complications. Giving your ears TLC is a hearing loss prevention that works. You’ll also need to be equipped with knowledge regarding hearing loss by undergoing hearing loss prevention training.