Did you hear? October is designated as National Audiology Awareness Month. Approximately 37.5 million Americans currently live with some type of hearing loss. Your hearing health is vital to your mental, emotional and physical well-being, and poor hearing can negatively impact your overall quality of life. Hearing loss can leave you susceptible to issues such as:
- A possible risk of developing dementia or depression
- Lack of awareness to potentially harmful situations in your surroundings (e.g., not hearing a car coming as you cross the street)
- Social isolation due to the embarrassment of not being able to carry a conversation
Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to make sure your hearing stays intact. Check out some tips below that may help you preserve your hearing for years to come.
- Ditch the cotton swabs
Look, we get it: Nothing feels better than stroking the inside of your ears with those little balls of fluff. What you may not realize, however, is that when you remove the earwax from the inside of your ear, you’re removing the ear’s defenses against dirt and other particles. Also, putting a stick in your ear can be potentially damaging to the delicate components inside the ear, such as the eardrum. If you feel you have a true build-up of earwax, contact your audiologist for an evaluation.
- Use protection in loud situations
Among those 37.5 million people in the U.S. with hearing loss, about one in three developed it because of exposure to loud noise.How loud is too loud, you ask? It’s simple enough to determine: Anywhere you have to shout to speak to the person next to you is too loud. This can include situations such as:
- Mowing the lawn
- Using a chainsaw
Since some of these situations can’t be avoided, use earplugs to protect your ears from dangerous decibel (dB) levels.
- Turn it down
You’ve likely heard your mother say this a thousand times to you growing up, but this time it isn’t because she can’t stand your taste in music—anything over 85 dB (i.e., your music player at full volume) can significantly damage your hearing, especially over long periods of time.That said, we’re also realistic; the world can be a noisy place and can make it hard for you to enjoy your tunes. Therefore, try giving the 60/60 rule a try: With headphones in, keep the volume at or below 60 percent and only for 60 minutes a day.
- Give your ears a break
If you find yourself in a loud situation for a long period of time, try to step away from it for a few minutes to give your ears a rest.Warning signs when you’ve exposed yourself for too long include:
- Pain in your ears afterward
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears afterward
- Sounds may seem muffled
- You have problems hearing soft or quiet sounds afterward
- Your ears feel full
- Keep your ears water-free
After taking a bath or swimming, be sure to carefully towel-dry your ears. Failure to do so could result in bacteria entering the ear canal, resulting in infections such as swimmer’s ear. You can also avoid the towel-down process altogether and buy swimming earplugs.
- Get checked regularly
Ask your primary care physician to incorporate a hearing screening into your annual physical to identify any signs of hearing loss. If not, your physician can recommend a specialist for a yearly consultation.
Come to the Hearing Specialists
At Sonora Hearing Care, our experts are the leaders in the treatment, diagnosis and continued care of hearing difficulties. From evaluation to implant testing and mapping, we are committed to providing the best care possible in a warm, inviting environment.
To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today.