While some people may not think much about their ears, it is a gift that many take for granted. Unfortunately, hearing loss is a very common health problem in the United States, and the number of people affected by hearing loss has been rising throughout the years. Hearing loss is a serious issue, even though it’s not often thought about, your ears play a huge role in your relationships with others and add to the quality of your life. While the loss of hearing does happen with aging, when modern life is thrown into the mix, all bets are off. Nowadays, other factors can negatively affect one’s ability to hear, and they are outside the realm of aging, genetics, and illness.
Your ears are delicate, and while genes and age do play a role in hearing loss, other aspects of modern living can affect your hearing, such as medications and loud, continuous noises that people are often exposed to on a day to day basis at home or work. Luckily, there is hope, as most types of hearing loss can be corrected by being aware of the signs and symptoms associated with hearing loss, and by being proactive with your health. Here are some of the hearing loss signs and symptoms to watch out for:
• You have problems hearing above the background noise
• High-pitched sounds and the sounds of “S” and “F” became hard to understand
• You have trouble following conversation when multiple people are speaking at once
• You have problems deciphering conversations on the phone
• You often ask people to repeat themselves
• You misunderstand what people tell you, and hear something different
• You often have music or the television on loud, and you receive frequent complaints about the loudness level
• When you hear others speak, you perceive them to be mumbling or not speaking clearly
• You often experience tinnitus, and get hissing, ringing or roaring sounds in the ears
Also, knowing some of the most common threats for your hearing can help you become more proactive in protecting your hearing. By knowing and understanding some of the threats, you can counter-balance the some of the daily hazards or just avoid them all together.
1. Take special care when wearing headphones, watching television, or listening to the radio by keeping the volume level down as low as you can. On many MP3 players, you can put a limiter on the sound, which will help prevent you from turning up the volume too loud. You want to limit the amount of exposure to loud noise to your ears.
2. Many love going to a music concert or show, but it can be very hard on your hearing. Be proactive by bringing a pair of earplugs with you, since it is not possible for you to turn down the volume level. Also, be sure that you do not sit or stand near the speakers. Not only will this give you a headache, but will significantly increase your chances of damage. If all things are against you, and you find yourself without ear protection or get placed near a loudspeaker, be sure to separate yourself from that environment as much as possible to give your ears a break.
3. Excessive noises most often occur at work, especially if you work as a musician, as a machinist, or in construction. In general, noise levels so never exceed 85 dB, so if you are exposed to sound that is louder than that, wear ear protection. Also, depending on your job, other noise-reduction measures can be done to a room. Certain wall coverings and carpeting can help reduce noise pollution inside of a room.
4. When you clean your ears, be sure to avoid the use of cotton buds. While it may seem like it’s cleaning out the inside of your ears, cotton buds typically push the earwax deeper into the ear canal, instead of removing it. Doing this can increase the risk of an ear infection developing in both adults and children. Instead of using your fingers, handkerchiefs, or cotton tips, carefully clean your ears with water when you are taking a shower.
5. Be mindful of ear infections, which can happen if you wash your ears with contaminated water. Ear infections are typically bacterial in origin, and if left untreated, can lead to loss of hearing. This is especially true for children, who are more susceptible to ear infections and other childhood illnesses. Certain diseases, such as the mumps, measles, and whooping cough can cause deafness if left untreated.
If you suspect hearing loss, don’t delay. Acknowledging the problem is the first step on the road to recovery. In many cases, hearing loss can be treated, so schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional today.