Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health problem in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics. I look beyond the statistics at the lives of patients and their families affected by hearing loss. My passion as an audiologist is ensuring that my patients enjoy independent and rewarding lifestyles that include the highest possible level of hearing health. A part of my commitment includes providing helpful advice to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse.
It might be difficult in some cases, but you should make a committed effort to stay away from loud environments. Where rock concerts, sirens, and firecrackers are obviously loud, prolonged exposure to environments with moderate noise levels, such as factory machinery, power tools, gas-powered lawn mowers, and using headphones or earbuds at a high volume, can be worse. Since few of us carry sound meters, a basic rule of thumb for judging noise level is whether you have to increase the volume of your voice to speak to someone just beyond arm’s reach.
Protecting Your Head and Ears
If you cannot avoid exposure to noise for any number of reasons, wear hearing protection for the duration of exposure to the loud sounds. Besides exposure to noise, skull fractures and other forms of head trauma injuries can produce or exacerbate hearing loss as well. Wear properly certified head protection in situations where there is a risk of a head injury. OSHA regulations require employers to provide both ear protection for jobs considered hazardous to hearing as well as providing proper head protection while on the job.
Be Conscientious About Your Overall Health
A wide range of health conditions contribute to hearing loss. Some basic lifestyle habits to avoid making your condition worse include getting enough sleep, reducing stress, staying physically active, and eliminating smoking. Chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, also contribute to increased hearing loss. Be careful with medications as well. Many OTC and prescription medications are ototoxic, which means that they cause damage to the auditory nervous system. Be sure that your physician is aware of your hearing loss issues, so that he or she can avoid prescribing these medications.
Know How to Recognize the Signs of Hearing Loss
Worsening of hearing loss can go undetected for quite some time, unless you know how to recognize the signs of hearing loss. In many cases, your family and close friends will be some of your best advisers when it comes to making you aware of its signs and symptoms such as:
- Difficulty with Phone Conversations
- Struggling to Hear in a Noisy Environment
- Decreased Capacity to Hear High-Frequency Sounds (birds, doorbell, voices of women or children)
- Hissing, Buzzing, or Ringing in One or Both Ears (tinnitus)
- Turning Up the Volume on the Television or Other Electronic Devices
- Frequently Asking People to Repeat Themselves
Annual hearing tests are an essential part of maintaining proper hearing health if you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for hearing loss.
Make the Most of Prescribed Treatments
Hearing loss severely hampers independence and decreases quality of living. If your audiologist has provided you with hearing aids or other prescribed treatments, make a conscientious effort to make the most of those treatments. In many cases, these treatments not only prevent the worsening of your hearing loss, but could prevent additional cognitive and mental health issues.
Because advanced hearing loss has a significant negative impact on your overall health, I advise my patients to commit to doing the very best they can to prevent their hearing loss from getting worse. Follow the advice of your hearing health provider or come to me at Aim Hearing and Audiology to get the highest level of hearing health care available in the Greensboro, NC area.
Call (336) 295-1064 to set up a hearing test or hearing health consultation or contact me at Aim Hearing and Audiology to schedule an appointment online.