How to Prevent Hearing Loss
Excessive noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss and in the US, hearing loss is also one of the most common occupational illnesses. Those who work in construction or in law enforcement are exposed to loud noise in ways most people are not. Loud machinery can damage hearing but a single shot from a shotgun at close range can permanently damage hearing in an instant. This repeated exposure to a lot of noise can reduce your hearing, meaning you need to be seeing an audiologist if you work in environments where excessive noise is prevalent. The reason the risk and harmful effects of loud noise are underestimated is because the damage is so gradual that people rarely notice it’s even happening.
Preventing hearing loss
Damage to your hearing doesn’t just come from noise. Over time, age plays a factor in declining hearing health and when you live a life exposed to noise, the little white hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. Over time, they get damaged through general ‘wear and tear’ which can result in tinnitus and sensorineural hearing loss. It’s therefore very important to be diligent about hearing loss prevention and have some preparation in place for situations where hearing is put at risk, such as:
- Recreational sources of hazardous noise, such as firecrackers, firearms, power tools, NASCAR, music concerts and even high decibel lawn mowers.
- If you are working in a factory, your risk of hearing loss is going to be a lot higher.
If you are standing with someone an arm’s length away and you have to shout over the noise to be heard, that noise in the room can be a huge risk to your hearing. You can remove yourself from situations like this and this can go toward preventing your hearing loss. You can also go into those situations with earplugs in place to protect your ears from serious harm. Your audiologist will spell out to you the importance of your hearing protection and they should be able to give you guidance on what to look for when you think you may have been exposed to hazardous noise.
Warning signs to look for
You need to know as quickly as possible if your hearing has been compromised and there are several ways you can tell if it has.
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears – tinnitus – after noise exposure
- You can hear people talking, but your understanding is different and it’s harder to do so
- Your ears feel ‘full’ after leaving a noisy area
Even temporarily feeling these symptoms can leave you with permanent hearing damage.
How to protect your hearing
There are many things you could be doing to prevent hearing loss and with the right hearing protection and audiologist, such as those that can advise you at Desert Hearing Care, you can be on your way to taking care of your hearing.
- If you work on a job site or an occupation that puts your hearing at risk, approach your employer to ensure there are effective hearing protection policies and help in place. This should meet state regulations for health, too, so you’re not left in the cold.
- When you are in a loud environment, insist on earmuffs or earplugs so that you’re not going to be exposed. Cheap, disposable earplugs made of foam are available anywhere and you can buy them in bulk which can save you some cash.
- Monitor your listening levels at home and keep the television and any music devices at a low volume. This can make a massive difference to the damage inside your ears. High-quality earbuds should help to block out background noise no matter the music level.
- Buy quieter products. You can check the decibel rating of a product before you buy and judge accordingly.
- Keep an eye on your hearing with routine testing with your audiologist. You can then get the best hearing protection for your needs as you need it, rather than when it’s too late.
Being alert to the risks around you is so important for your hearing health and while you don’t want to experience hearing loss, you need to consider all the preventative measures that you can put into place to make life easier for you. The best thing you can do today is contact Desert Hearing Care at (480) 985-2544 to get your hearing checked.