Science-Backed Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss

  • By pugetsound
  • 26 Apr, 2017
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.

Quit Smoking!

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.

The Power of Positive Thinking

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.

Turn Down the Volume!

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.

Adjust Your Diet

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.

Puget Sound Hearing & Audiology

By pugetsound 14 Jul, 2017
Tinnitus, which is often referred to as a “ringing of the ears,” affects 45 million Americans, including a large number of war veterans. Individuals suffering from tinnitus will hear pops, white noise, whistles, bursts of air without any external auditory stimulus; tinnitus is a sound that comes from within. Though tinnitus has been linked with hearing loss, there is no singular cause for it. There are two types of tinnitus, subjective and objective. Objective tinnitus is rare, comprising of less than 1% of tinnitus cases; with this type, both the person experiencing tinnitus and a person sitting nearby can hear the sounds. On the other hand, subjective tinnitus is the most common type, comprising 99% of cases. Subjective tinnitus is often linked with hearing loss. The Hearing Health Foundation estimates that 90% of tinnitus cases occur with an underlying hearing loss.
By pugetsound 11 Jul, 2017
Though hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, it is not often discussed. In some cases, discussing hearing loss comes with the taboo of aging, while in other cases, people simply don’t notice because it is an invisible condition. As an invisible condition, hearing loss tends to develop gradually, sometimes over a span of many years. While hearing loss may affect people at any age, it tends to be most common among people age 65 years or older. Regardless of age, hearing loss affects 20% of the population in the US. People with hearing loss tend to treat the condition with hearing aids. Hearing aids provide people with hearing loss access to clear sounds and improved speech recognition, among a number of other incredible features. Hearing aids bring significant benefit to people who experience hearing loss; they reconnect people to the sounds in their life. Even with hearing aids, however, people with hearing loss find themselves in situations where communication may be difficult. In other instances, there are myths that need to be dispelled about hearing loss. Here, we’ve compiled the Internet for things people with hearing loss wish others understood about the condition.
By pugetsound 03 Jul, 2017
When we think of hearing loss, we tend to think about how we have to turn up the volume on our devices, or how it affects communication with our friends and family. Untreated hearing loss has long been linked to a range of health problems, as revealed by medical studies concerning areas such as dementia, balance, heart disease, and depression. As the third most common medical condition, hearing loss affects 48 million Americans, and one in three people over the age of 60. Approximately 60% of the workforce experiences some degree of hearing loss. While we tend to think of hearing loss affecting many circumstances external to us, it is also important to take a look inward. In the past few years, new light has been shed on how hearing loss affects our energy levels and our emotional well-being. A series of studies have linked untreated hearing loss to fatigue, including how hearing loss may affect the daily activities of people who are experiencing changes in their hearing – but have yet to seek treatment. Here we take a look at some of these studies and provide a few tips on self-care to prevent hearing loss fatigue.
By pugetsound 30 Jun, 2017
Hearing loss, if left untreated, has the potential to adversely affect many different areas of your life. Studies have indicated that people with untreated hearing loss tend to have lower earning power than colleagues who treat hearing loss with hearing aids. Additionally, people with untreated hearing loss are at higher risk for accidents, falls, and developing dementia. While these scenarios are more serious implications of untreated hearing loss, there is another side. We know that untreated hearing loss could affect our interpersonal relationships, due to difficulties with communication. Over time, people with untreated hearing loss withdraw and isolate themselves, so they do not have to struggle with communication. As such, people with hearing loss tend to be at risk for depression and anxiety. Researchers from Washington State University further explore this connection with a study on the link between your mood, dopamine levels, and hearing loss.
By pugetsound 30 Jun, 2017
Along with moisture and dirt, background noise is one of the greatest foes for people with hearing aids. While most hearing aids are equipped with features to help you cut through background noise to access clear sound, you may still find yourself in situations where the background noise may be too much. Here, we provide tips for hearing in noisy environments.
By pugetsound 23 Jun, 2017
Have you ever wondered what people in the past did when they experienced hearing loss? What about hearing loss itself – when was it formally recognized as a medical condition? Today, we are fortunate to have some of the most advanced hearing devices available to us. Modern hearing aids are fast, smart, and sleek – barely noticeable, with the incredible processing powers akin to computers. In fact, today’s hearing aids are closely aligned with other fast, wireless, smart electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Likewise, the history of hearing aids has closely followed the advent of mechanization and electric devices in the 19th and 20th centuries. Let’s take a journey back in time through a brief history of hearing aids to see how we arrived where we have today.
By pugetsound 20 Jun, 2017
From floods, fires and power outages to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, emergencies can strike at any time, and often there is little we can do to prevent them. What we can do is plan ahead, making sure that in the event of an emergency we have the resources we need to weather the storm. If you, or your friend, family member or neighbor is hearing impaired, planning ahead means preparing a few extra items to ensure that communication will be possible, even in the worst circumstances. Here are a few steps that will help keep you and your loved ones safe.
By pugetsound 16 Jun, 2017
Hearing loss is a natural part of the normal aging process. It affects a significant portion of those over the age of sixty-five. Now that Baby Boomers are approaching this life stage, we’ll probably be hearing more and more about the effects of this phenomena, as a much larger percentage of our population will now be dealing with these challenges than ever before. A recent study by the National Council on Aging found that people with hearing loss were 50% more likely to experience depression. Of particular note is that this was specific to those with untreated hearing loss, making early detection and intervention even more important.
By pugetsound 12 Jun, 2017
About 20 percent of American adults, or 48 million, have some degree of hearing loss . Many of these adults are parents, and even more are grandparents. Parents with hearing loss often face additional challenges, from not being able to hear their newborn’s cry to understanding a child’s soft voice. For this Father’s Day, to celebrate the vital role that fathers play in their children’s lives, let’s take a look at a few techniques that can help hard of hearing parents connect with their little ones.
By pugetsound 06 Jun, 2017
Hearing is one of the five senses we rely on to take in information from the world around us, to help us make decisions, to stay safe, and to stay connected. Our sense of hearing developed over centuries, along with sight, taste, touch, and smell, to help us survive. They work in conjunction with each other; when one sense is impaired, another one steps up. For example, when ancient humans were in the dark, they relied on hearing to gather information about their surroundings. Without the conveniences of fire or electricity, it was footsteps on leaves or rocks that notified them that they were not alone. Even more remarkably, hearing does not stop working – unlike sight. When we fall asleep, we wake up because of an alarm. We take in sound information from all 360 degrees of our surroundings. Our auditory systems can pick up sounds that are close by, like a fan next to our bed, to sounds that are far outside our homes, such as a distant ambulance siren. With two ears, this is known as binaural hearing – the harmonizing of sounds picked up by both ears. For the most part, when you experience hearing loss, both ears are affected. In some cases, people experience single-sided hearing loss, and there are specially designed hearing devices for these instances. For people who experience hearing loss in both ears – bilateral hearing loss – one hearing aid just isn’t enough. Think about it – when you listen to music through a stereo, isn’t the sound better when you’re using both speakers? Similarly, two hearing aids are better than one, when you’re experiencing bilateral hearing loss.
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