Preventing Hearing Loss
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking care of your hearing health and avoiding the external causes of hearing loss in the first place could mean better hearing into old age.
While hearing loss is often the result of aging or genetics, there are also a variety of external causes. Your personal decisions can have a significant impact on your experience with hearing loss. Here are a few ways you can protect your hearing long-term.
Exposure to loud noises is one of the most common causes of hearing loss.Whenever possible, avoid situations in which you will be exposed to loud noise for prolonged periods of time. These include concerts and factory environments. It's also a good idea to avoid listening to music on your headphones full blast.
Of course, it's not always possible to avoid situations in which you will be exposed to loud noise. For example, if you are a musician, work in a factory, or are an airplane pilot, loud noise may simply be part of your day-to-day life. Wearing ear plugs or other hearing protection can go a long way in protecting your hearing in the long term. See Our Custom Hearing Protection Options ›
Smokers are 70% more likely to develop hearing loss than non-smokers. Nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes deplete oxygen levels and constrict blood vessels all over your body, including the ones in your inner ear. In addition, nicotine can interfere with neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve, which are responsible for telling the brain which sound you are hearing.
Many people use cotton swabs to remove ear wax, unaware of how dangerous this can be. The cotton swab can easily reach the ear drum, and cause damage. The ear drum is an extremely delicate structure that can be easily punctured by even the lightest pressure from the swab. While the puncture will eventually heal, it may eventually lead to conductive hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be caused by certain medications that damage the sensory cells of the cochlea in the inner ear. Medications that can cause permanent damage include certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, as well as cancer chemotherapy drugs. Diuretic medications for high blood pressure and heart conditions can also cause permanent hearing loss.
If you're at a high risk of noise-induced hearing loss (if you're a musician, or if you work in a noisy environment, for example) be sure to get your hearing checked regularly. And if you think you may already be experiencing some hearing less, get checked right away! The sooner your hearing loss is diagnosed, the more effective treatment and prevention methods will be.
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