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How Can You Protect Your Hearing?

standard ear plugs

While every hearing loss case is different, they all share one common trait. The patients’ ability to hear sounds has been affected by damage inside the ear. The hair cells inside the ear play a significant role in capturing and conduction sounds to your brain – where they are interpreted. When the hair cells are damaged, sounds can’t be captured, which means that your brain can’t report on noises in your surroundings.

There is no denying that the aging process affects the health of your inner ear, and can lead to a degradation of your hearing. However, audiologists warn against accidental and occupational damages that can affect your hearing at any age. Indeed, hearing loss is not a fatality that affects every individual. It is a risk that can be managed with dedicated ear protection and health routine. Here are some of the most effective precautions you can take to preserve your hearing at any age.

Exposure to loud noises is a common risk

Prolonged exposure to sounds at 80 dB or more can damage your hearing over time. As a comparison, the sound of a lawnmower hits somewhere between 80-85 dB. Something as banal as mowing your lawn over the weekend without ear protection can put your hair cells at risk. Attending a live concert reaches around 110 dB or more, which means that the risk is aggravated. If you work in a noisy environment, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an audiologist to discuss the best protection for your situation. It is not uncommon to experience temporary hearing loss affect a loud event, such as visiting a nightclub. However, with dedicated recovery time, your ears can heal small lesions. Nevertheless, severe wounds to your inner ears cannot be repaired; therefore, ear protection is a must-have.

Understand the role of ear pressure

Anybody who has been on a plane knows how a sudden change of pressure can affect your ears. Indeed, the plane’s passengers rely on a variety of tricks to reduce the unpleasant effect – from chewing gums to using specialist pressure ear protection. However, air pressure in a plane is a temporary and typically harmless situation. People who enjoy sports activities with extreme pressure changes, such as diving – water diving or skydiving – need to work alongside an audiologist to protect their ears. Divers who can’t equalize the pressure safely are vulnerable to lasting damages and ear injuries. You can use manual techniques to adjust your ears to the pressure. Earplugs are not recommended for divers, but your audiologist can suggest drops, dryers, and specialist ear protection. 

Plan recovery time

Temporary damage can occur in any situation. Planning recovery time after an event that puts a lot of stress on your ears is essential to avoid lasting issues. Experts recommend around 16 hours of quiet after a live gig, for instance. The same resting time needs to be scheduled after a dive. Indeed, your ears need to heal in a quiet, and non-pressurized environment to recover from micro lesions and physical stress.

Manage earwax removal safely

Inappropriate wax removal can affect your hearing. Cerumen blockages can form inside the ear canal as a result of using cotton swabs. Ideally, you should clean your outer ear only and avoid pushing objects inside your ear canal. An audiologist can proceed to professional wax removal if you notice a loss of hearing as a result of the blockage. Additionally, you can also discuss safe cleaning methods with your audiologist to protect your ears from lesions.

Healthy eating for healthy ears

A healthy diet doesn’t only keep your body strong and fit; it also plays a significant role in protecting your hearing health. Indeed, your diet needs to include potassium to regulate the fluid in your inner ear, folic acid to maintain cell growth, magnesium to protect the delicate hair cells, and zinc to boost your immune system. Feeding your immune system is also the best defense mechanism against viral ear infections.

Stress management is crucial

High-stress levels have been linked to hearing loss. Indeed, stress disturbs your blood circulation, reducing blood flow to the ear and causing your hair cells not to receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients. When the blood flow is disrupted continuously – aka when you’re going through a prolonged period of stress – the damage to your ears can be irreparable. Additionally, chronic stress is one of the most common triggers for tinnitus, which affects your hearing ability.

Protecting your hearing requires close attention to your surroundings and your lifestyle. Physical ear protection can come in a variety of shapes, such as earplugs, to wear at a concert event. However, your audiologist can also explain the different steps to maintain your hearing health, such as your cleaning routine and healthy stress-relief activities.