Hearing loss can affect anyone: here are steps you can take to prevent it
Do you have trouble hearing the television or understanding people when they’re talking? If so, you might have hearing loss. It may be a relief to know that some hearing loss is normal as you age. About 25% of people between the ages of 55 and 64 have some hearing loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. It helps to know the signs of hearing loss and how to protect your inner ears to reduce the effects of this problem.
Warning signs of hearing loss
Hearing loss can happen at any age. However, it often happens slowly over time. You might not even notice symptoms when they start. Besides having a hard time hearing TV shows and understanding words in a crowd of people talking, there are other signs of hearing loss, including:
- Muffled sounds
- Ringing in the ear
- Hissing in the ear
- Buzzing in the ear
- Plugged feeling in the ear
These symptoms can interfere with the quality of your daily life and frustrate your family and friends. If you continue having these warning signs, get an inner ear exam and a hearing test.
Reasons hearing loss happens
A temporary buildup of ear wax or an allergy might make your ears feel clogged. Hearing problems that occur from damage to the tiny hair cells inside your ears as you age are more common. Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis. It makes sound vibrations less clear than they should be. Going to loud concerts or working with loud machinery can further damage your ear hair cells. If you’re in the music industry or in the military, loud noises you hear can also damage your hearing.
The effects of headphones on hearing loss
There’s also a link between hearing loss and headphones — which can even affect younger people. Today, one in five teens has some hearing loss that’s likely due to an increased use of headphones, according to the American Osteopathic Association. If other people can hear music through your headphones while you’re listening, the volume may be loud enough to cause hearing damage.
If you like to listen to music with headphones, wear them less than one hour a day to reduce damage to your ears. Wear large headphones that fit over your ears instead of earbuds, too.
How to prevent hearing loss
You can protect your ears from hearing loss and from further problems. There are several things to try that can keep your hearing in good shape:
- Clean out ear wax.
- Reduce loud sounds.
- Limit headphone use.
- Wear earplugs or earmuffs.
If you use loud machinery or go to a noisy sporting event, you can significantly lower the noise by wearing earplugs or earmuffs.
Can hearing loss be reversed?
Reversing age-related hearing loss isn’t possible. However, you can improve your hearing by wearing hearing aids. If you have hearing loss because of an ear infection or punctured eardrum, that’s fixable. A punctured eardrum might close on its own. Or, you can have minor surgery to repair it.
Do you want to learn more about your ear health? If you’re having signs of hearing loss, find a doctor today to make an appointment with a primary care physician or specialist who can check your hearing.