May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and what better time to educate others on the importance of hearing health. Unfortunately, many Americans are currently experiencing some degree of hearing loss, and/or many know someone who is hard of hearing or is deaf. However, knowledge will help ensure that you are prepared and this can help you stay vigilant. Don’t dismiss the signs of hearing loss, it is a big deal, as losing your hearing can affect your safety, health, as well as your relationships. The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) lists the primary causes of hearing loss to be aging or by frequent exposure to loud noise, so hearing loss can happen to anyone at any time.
While hearing loss may be inevitable for some individuals as they age, there are steps you can take in order to protect your hearing:
• Don’t smoke as the toxins from the smoke can negatively affect a person’s hearing ability.
• If you can’t escape the loud noise, be sure to take at least a 10-minute break every hour.
• If you are operating loud equipment or work in a noisy environment, make sure you protect your ears by wearing ear buds.
• Keep the volume level down on all devices. This includes cell phones, the television, mp3 players, and the radio.
• Eat healthy in order to decrease your chances of diabetes, which can put an individual at a greater risk of hearing loss.
All in all, you want to keep your ears healthy if you want to avoid or limit your chances of damage, and potentially developing hearing loss. Check out these pointers on how to keep your ears healthy and happy for the long run.
1. Do not use cotton buds, cotton swabs or poke anything into your ears. This can damage your ear and push the wax further back into the ear canal, making it harder to remove.
2. Instead of using Q-Tips, use a washcloth to clean your outer ear and behind the ear. This will make it easier for the wax that is deep inside the ear to ooze out naturally.
3. If you have issues with earwax blockage, use an earwax softener once a week in order to help prevent the wax from hardening and building up. The lubrication will help encourage the natural movement out of the ear.
4. Avoid submerging your ears in bath water. While it may seem like a good idea, bacteria from the water could enter your ear canal and cause an infection.
5. If you wear a hearing aid, be cautious when swimming as you are much more susceptible to swimmer’s ear. It is best to leave your hearing aid out while you are in the pool.
6. Do not ignore any ear problems you face, no matter how minor they may seem. The longer a problem has been neglected the harder it can become to treat.
7. Your ears are very sensitive to the sun, and while many overlook them when applying sunblock, it is vital that you don’t forget them.
8. Never put insect repellent inside of the ear, instead put some on the outer ear in order to keep away bugs.
9. If you are planning to pierce your ears, it is recommended to stick to the lobe area, not along the top of the ear where it is cartilage. Due to the shortage of blood on that part of the ear, piercings in this area carries a higher risk of infection.
10. Follow a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet, this is your best line of defense in keeping your ears functioning effectively.
If you suspect hearing loss or have been having issues with your hearing, do not delay. It is vital to see a doctor or audiologist who can help assess your condition and set a plan to help prevent further hearing loss. Remember, prevention is the key to good health!