As we get older, we’re more and more likely to have impaired hearing. While hearing loss is often gradual, that’s not always the case. There are also several causes other than just old age. If you’re starting to have trouble hearing, you should see a doctor as quickly as possible. The earlier you get diagnosed and treated, the better off you’ll be.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Some of the most common causes of hearing loss are simply aging and noise exposure. As we age – or as we’re exposed to lots of loud noises – the hair cells in our ears break down. This means they won’t pick up sound vibrations as well as they might have in the past. There’s some good news though. There are some things you can do to keep sensorineural hearing loss from getting worse. We’ll cover those in a minute.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Other causes of hearing loss may not be related to your age at all. Conductive hearing loss, which is often temporary, may be caused by an ear infection, a wax build-up, or other issue. You may also experience mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. This could be from a long-term infection or an injury.
What to Do About It
As we already mentioned, considering there are several causes, you should see a doctor if you start experiencing hearing loss. Infections, perforated eardrums, tumors, and cholesteatomas can all worsen over time without treatment. If you’ve seen a doctor and you know your hearing loss is sensorineural, here are some things you can do.
Avoid Loud Noises
Concerts, loud movie theaters, power tools, and too-loud headphones can all damage your hearing. If you have to yell to overcome the noise level, then it’s loud enough to worsen your hearing loss. Try to avoid appliances, devices, and places that are excessively loud. If it’s unavoidable, wear hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs.
Don’t Stick Things in Your Ears
You’ve likely been warned about the dangers of cotton swabs. If you need to remove ear wax, you’ll want to use an irrigation kit instead. These soften the wax, so you can wash it out instead of accidentally packing it deeper in. In some cases, you may need to see a doctor for ear wax removal.
Check Your Medications
Unfortunately, there are a number of prescription drugs that can damage your hearing. They even include some antibiotics and cancer medications. Consult with your doctor about whether or not your prescriptions could affect your hearing.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Studies have shown that healthy lifestyle habits can have an effect on hearing. Maintaining a healthy diet is important for many reasons, and now you have one more still. Smoking has also been linked to hearing loss, so you’ll want to avoid that as well.