According to the CDC, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition after high blood pressure and arthritis in America.
There are two major factors in hearing loss: age and noise. Age-related hearing loss occurs as the tiny hair cells that help you hear are broken down and don’t pick up sound vibrations as well. Over time, loud noises can also break down the hair cells in your ears.
While there are inevitable changes in hearing that our ears will experience with age, here are a few tips on preventing hearing loss and stopping age-related hearing loss from getting worse:
Reduce noise exposure as much as possible
Noise reduction and wearing hearing protection are the most recommended hearing loss tips. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is among the most common forms of hearing loss, with about 1 in 4 adults (ages 20-69) experiencing some form of NIHL.
A good rule of thumb regarding noise exposure is if you have to shout over the music, it’s too loud for your ears. If you are in a place with loud noises, take small breaks by going to a quiet place and resting your ears for a minute.
Tobacco and second-hand smoke can cause damage to your Eustachian tube, the tube that runs from your middle ear to the back of your throat and equalizes the pressure in your ears. This damage can lead to pressure buildup and hearing loss. If you want to quit smoking, find some tips here.
Get regular hearing tests
Hearing tests can help you stay on top of your hearing health and track any deterioration that could lead to permanent damage. Hearing tests can be done in person with a doctor or over a hearing test app on your mobile device. Check out the best free apps for hearing health here.
Double-check your medications
Hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications come with a risk of hearing loss. When you buy a medication make sure to check with your doctor about any potential hearing repercussions. If you have to take the medication with hearing loss risks, have your doctor check your balance and hearing before and during the treatment.
Clean your ears
This tip may sound obvious, but earwax buildup can muffle outside noise and keep you from hearing correctly. Continued buildup can eventually act as a barrier in your ear canal and cause trauma to the ear, which may result in permanent hearing loss. Q-tips can push wax deeper into the ear canal, so using an irrigation kit to remove the wax is the safest option.
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