Although there are no fool proof ways to prevent hearing loss altogether, there are practical lifestyle changes that have shown potential in reducing the likelihood of its onset. Additionally, there are temporary hearing blockages caused by factors like wax build up.
We explore the facts surrounding hearing loss, learn about preventative strategies, and uncover the temporary obstacles that can impact our auditory experiences. By understanding these aspects, we can better navigate the journey of hearing loss and take proactive steps to preserve our hearing health.
In truth, hearing loss is almost a certainty for every person who lives long enough. It will occur at a steady rate due to the natural wear and tear for your hearing organ (Cochlea). 1 in 6 of the adult population will likely have a hearing loss by the time they approach 55 years old. This increases to 1 in 3 by the time they reach 70. However, there are ways to reduce the rate at which this happens for you. Additionally, there are other things that can block your hearing temporarily such as wax.
It is important to note that there are no hard and fast rules about this, but general lifestyle changes that have been shown to reduce the likelihood of hearing loss.
One of the most common causes of early hearing loss is noise damage. This can be from your work environment, from going to concerts, or from your hobbies. Noises above 85dB can damage your hearing permanently if you are constantly exposed to them.
The best way to protect your hearing from noise is to wear hearing protection specific to the environment you are experiencing the noise. I.e., Music plugs for loud music or industrial grade plugs for use with heavy machinery.
Off the shelf plugs offer a low level of protection but can be useful as a cheap and easy measure. The best protection you can get is a custom mould earplug. Because they are most tailored for your needs and specific to you, they offer a much greater level of protection than an off the shelf ear plug. Most audiologists will offer this as a service, including ourselves. If you would like more information regarding this, please contact our Chime Hearing Centre on 01392 953060.
Keeping your ears clear of wax is often a tricky job as you cannot look inside your own ears to see what level of wax you have. The most important thing is to not attempt to remove the wax yourself from your own ear. It is dangerous and can lead to various complications that cause permanent hearing loss and tissue damage to your ears.
Instead, if you are concerned that you have wax in you ear, check with your local hearing care professional to see if they can look in your ears to confirm the level of wax. If you are a patient of Chime you can do this at our walk-in clinics.
If you are blocked with wax, you may need to have the wax removed. I will say it again, do not try and remove it yourself. Depending on the treatment you need for wax removal, you will be advised to use a form of ear drop to soften the wax before removal.
Once the wax has been removed, a regular dose of wax can allow the trace amounts of wax out of your ear more efficiently. You should only do this if you know you have not had a perforated eardrum in the past. This can be checked by your GP or hearing care professional.
This is easier said than done, but research suggests healthier individuals tend to experience hearing loss later than unhealthier individuals. All the standard advice applies here, eating healthy, exercising regularly, not smoking and appropriate alcohol consumption can reduce the rate at which hearing loss occurs.
Additionally, making sure that chronic conditions are being managed appropriately. Unmanaged diabetes, high blood pressure and many other health conditions can cause the hearing organ to deteriorate faster.
If you have not ever had your hearing checked, it is important to do so for your hearing care professional to have a baseline record of your hearing. This can allow them to mark any changes when you are re-tested.
If you are currently an NHS patient, you will typically have your hearing tested every 5 years. This is a reasonable amount of time as this is often how long it would take for your hearing to change if it is getting worse naturally. If you are concerned that your hearing has changed before the 5-year mark, please contact us directly so we can determine the appropriate cause of action. It may not always be your hearing that is the issue.
If you are a private patient, you are entitled to a yearly hearing check-up as part of what you pay for the hearing aids. It is not essential that you have your hearing tested every year, but it is useful for your hearing care professional to get the best out of your new hearing aids.
These are the main things that can negatively impact your hearing. However, it is important to note that just because you do all the above perfectly, it does not mean you will not experience a hearing loss. It is a natural part of the aging process. If you are concerned that you have a hearing loss and you live in the local area, please contact us directly.