Hearing loss affects a great portion of Americans, young and old alike. There are many different causes of hearing loss, ranging from the natural aging process to long-term exposure to loud sounds. Though there are ground-breaking technologies available to treat it, hearing loss is a permanent condition without a cure. In other words, once your hearing is gone, it’s gone forever.
Here at Puget Sound Hearing Aids and Audiology, we provide care and treatment solutions for hearing loss. We are equally as concerned about the act of prevention when it comes to hearing loss. We provide custom ear protection for people from all walks of life, from athletes to musicians. We believe that ear protection is crucial to preventing hearing loss.
In addition to custom ear protection, there are ways you can prevent hearing loss in your daily life. Let’s take a look at a few science-backed ways to prevent hearing loss.
Yeah, yeah, everyone knows the many health risks related to smoking, from lung cancer to heart disease. But you can add a new medical condition to the list: hearing loss. Did you know that 70% of smokers are more likely than nonsmokers develop hearing loss?
The chemicals that are found in cigarettes – nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic, and ammonia, to name a few – are incredibly damaging to your body, especially your oxygen levels and blood vessels. Studies have found that nicotine interferes with neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve, which inevitably interferes with your hearing.
With quitting smoking, it’s better late than never. Even if you’ve smoked for years, you can still prevent future and further damage to both your hearing and your body if you quit today.
A 2015 study from Canada reveals that “when older adults feel negatively about aging, these feelings can have a negative impact on their hearing and memory.” Researchers surveyed participants on their views on aging, perceptions of memory, and hearing abilities and compared this to their actual memory and hearing performance. Remarkably, researchers found that a negative view on aging was linked with poor performance in hearing and memory tests.
Aging is a natural part of life, and with each stage of our life, there are joys and tribulations alike. “Knowing that changing how older adults feel about themselves could improve their abilities to hear and remember will enable the development of interventions to improve their quality of life,” says researchers.
Hearing loss affects anyone, at any age. In younger populations, the World Health Organization has estimated a risk for hearing loss for 1.1 billion young people around the globe. In part, this is due to exposure to loud sounds on a daily basis. The ubiquity of earbuds certainly doesn’t help. The positioning of earbuds, worn deep in the ear canal near the eardrum, can cause irreversible damage to your hearing. With improvements in technology, longer battery life and higher quality sound mean that people are listening to music and other media for longer periods of time at higher volumes.
Hearing specialists recommend adhering to the 60-60 rule: 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. Give yourself frequent breaks from listening. Another option is to use noise-canceling headphones, which blocks out background noise and thus allowing you to listen to sounds clearly at a lower volume.
Exposure to noise over long periods of time leads to the irreversible damage of your inner ear hair cells, which causes noise-induced hearing loss. If you work or spend ample time in loud environments, consider the use of custom ear protection, or at the very least, earplugs.
Studies have shown that hypertension and diabetes are potentially linked to hearing loss. We know that a healthy and balanced diet brings many health benefits to our lives. A 2014 study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that adding coffee to your day could reduce the risk of tinnitus. Researchers followed 65,085 female participants over 18 years; they found that women who drank about three 8-ounce cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of developing hearing loss.
In a different study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, researchers found that the consumption of two or more servings of fish a week showed a 20% lower risk for hearing loss. Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to provide a number of health benefits.
For more information on hearing loss prevention to acquire custom ear protection, visit us
at one of our Puget Sound Hearing Aids & Audiology locations.