Don’t let your hearing dip with age. Here’s what you need to do

Hearing aid

Last Updated October 20th, 2019

Why is taking care of your hearing important?

Hearing loss is the most common form of human sensory deficit. It is defined as the partial or total inability to hear sound in one or both ears.It may be a sudden or a progressive impairment that tends to gradually gets worse over time. It can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. It is caused by many factors, including genetics, age, exposure to noise, illness, chemicals, and physical trauma and so on.

It affects all ages, delaying speech and learning in children, and causing social and vocational problems for adults. The prevalence of hearing loss is seen to increase in adolescents and young adults and is associated with exposure to loud music. As for the aged, according to the reports of WHO one-third of people above 65 years are living with disabling hearing loss. The good news is that by way of early diagnosis and medical intervention the majority of hearing loss cases are treatable.

Common types of hearing loss problems

Three main types of hearing loss are classified as conducive (CHL), sensory-neural (SNHL), and mixed hearing losses, classified according to the areas of functionality affected.

  • CHL or Conducive Hearing Loss

Hearing lossIt is a type of hearing loss characterized by having better hearing thresholds for bone-conducted signals compared with air-conducted signals.

CHL is usually associated with dysfunction located in the outer and/or middle ear while having a normal inner ear function.  A common cause of CHL is the malformation of the outer ear, ear canal, or middle ear structures. Atresia and microtia are examples of these. Other common causes of CHL include the closing of the ear canal due to wax buildup or by the presence of a foreign object, damaged eardrum, fluid accumulation, allergies, dysfunction of the Eustachian tube (that normally drains fluid from the ear to the back of the throat), and benign tumors. Most of the CHL cases are treatable with medication, surgery, amplification, assistive devices, or a combination of these.

  • SNHL or Sensory-Neural Hearing Loss

It is a type hearing loss that occurs as a result of damage to the inner ear or beyond, that is, either along the 8th cranial nerve or in the brain. It can cause complete loss of hearing, despite the outer ear and middle ear functioning normally. Long exposure to loud noise induces SNHL by direct mechanical damage to inner ear structures.  

  • Mixed hearing loss

This type of hearing loss has a combination of conducive and sensory-neural damage in the same ear. While the conductive component may be treated, the sensory-neural component is more of a challenge. 

Why do you need to take care?

Taking care of your hearing is a small price to pay for a healthy and a happy life. Even if you’re young and your hearing is fine, you are exposed to a noisy environment every day. You hear many different sounds from traffic festivals factories and these sounds affect your hearing. Frequent and long-term exposure to loud noise or noise pollution can damage your ear’s sensitive structure and lead to loss of hearing.

You have come to know the world with the help it’s of voices, sounds, and music. You have understood the world with the help of your hearing just as much as you did with your sight.  And once your hearing has been damaged it is gone for good. That is why it is imperative that you take certain steps to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Here are a few key tips for ensuring that you are able to keep hearing the music for the years to come

  • Avoid loud noiseshearing loss noise pollution

The safe noise limit that our ears can be exposed to is around 85dB (decibels). Anything over that can risk damaging our ears. At home or work, wear hearing protection during exposure to loud levels of noise.

Lawnmowers, chainsaws, and any other noises that force you to shout so that the person next to you can hear your voice all create dangerous levels of sound. Clubs, concerts, cultural events usually have speakers blaring out songs at high volumes and this can damage your hearing. Places of works like factories, industries, or even streets filled with traffic are all noisy places considered high with noise pollution. When exposed to these kinds of situations constantly, wearing earplugs to protect your ears from damage is strongly advised.

  • Turn down the music

Hearing loss loud musicWhen people want to enjoy music or drown out the surrounding noise while traveling or working, they tend to turn up the volume of their media device to high volumes. Following the 60/60 rule i.e. listening to music at 60% of the maximum volume for 60 min a day is a good way to keep your ears protected.One should be epically weary of earbuds as they fit directly next to the eardrum.

Keep them dry

Excess moisture can cause ear infection by allowing bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal causing damage to the ears.Swimmers ears and other infections of its kind are a result of this. To avoid this use a towel to gently dry your ears after swimming or bathing. Tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the earlobe if still feel water in your ears.

Give them a break once in a while

Exposure to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a bar, would lead to your ears needing time to recover. If you can, step outside for five minutes every so often in order to give them a break.

Keep them clean but do it right

Cotton swabs are commonly used by people to clean the ears out. But it is not advised as using it for your inner ears as it will only push the wax further down the canal. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal.

Inserting anything inside your ear canals can risk damaging sensitive organs such your eardrum causing serious complications.You can instead opt to clean the excess wax around the ear canal with a damp towel. Using an ear wax removing solution containing sodium bicarbonate for a few nights can also be a solution as it will soften the ear wax and allow it to flow out on its own.

  • Get moving

Regular exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including your ears.

This helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and working.

  • Don’t stress out

Hearing aidHigh levels of stress and anxiety have been linked to both temporary and permanent tinnitus (phantom ringing in the ears).

This is because at high levels of stress the body’s instincts kick in and it goes into an emergency mode with the release of adrenalin. This put a lot of pressure on different parts of your body and its functions like the nerves, the heart rate, blood pressure, and so on. This stress would eventually travel up to inner ear contributing to tinnitus symptoms.

Get checked

Have your ears checked regularly by your primary care physician? As hearing loss is a gradual process, have your hearing checked by an audiologist annually is a good idea.


TL;DR?

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