Latest posts by Laurie Duffy, M.S. (see all)
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Hearing is a precious resource! Although there are constantly improving ways to assist hearing if it is lost, the body does not naturally regenerate the tiny hair-like structures of the inner ear where sounds are sensed. These hairs can easily be damaged by exposure to harsh noise, but they also deteriorate due to the natural process of sound exposure through the life course. With such a delicate system in place, it is remarkable that we are able to hear as well as we can for as long as we do.
With the reality of permanent damage to these tiny hair-like structures of the inner ear, protection is of utmost importance. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your hearing functions at its best for a long time in life. The following are some healthy habits you can develop now that will enable you to protect your hearing far into the future.
The most obvious habit you can practice when it comes to hearing protection is to wear earplugs any time that sound seems to be dangerously loud. These noisy environments might be something obvious like a dance club or music venue, but some places are surprisingly loud. Restaurants are common culprits, where voices compete for volume and surfaces can be incredibly reverberant. The dangers are not only located away from home. If you have a large lawn that requires hours to mow, you should wear hearing protection, such as noise cancelling earmuffs to prevent hearing loss from the regular task of lawn mowing.
Limit Headphone Use
In addition to wearing protection whenever you are presented with loud sound, you should also do what you can to limit exposure to leisure noise. Technology has advanced so that we have nearly constant possibilities for media exposure, and our smartphones are almost always on hand to entertain us with podcasts, music, television, or even movies right in our pockets. These entertainments are convenient, but wearing headphones at a loud volume for too long can cause permanent damage. Keep the volume on your headphones or earbuds below the maximum, and limit your use. Taking regular breaks for silence can remind you how loud the devices are, as well. Particularly if you are using your headphones on a noisy form of transportation, you might raise the volume to compete with the background noise. The composite decibel level can become dangerously high, so you might want to forgo headphones or earbuds on these modes of transportation as much as possible.
Careful Ear Care
Caring for the ears is a delicate endeavor. Just as the inner ear is fashioned with an intricate maze of sensitive tissues, it is also vulnerable to dangers from cleaning and recreation. When you are cleaning your ears, take care not to insert anything inside them. A damp, clean cloth in the outer ear is the best way to clean, and cotton swabs should only be used to maintain the outer ear. Take care when swimming, as well. Water trapped inside your ear, particularly when it comes from a natural body of water, can host bacteria that is not only painful but also dangerous to the ear. If that bacteria is trapped inside the ear after swimming, hearing loss is possible. Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your ears after swimming, and you might want to try an ear rinse of half rubbing alcohol and half vinegar dropped into the ear and then drained. The alcohol is used to evaporate the water that might be trapped within, and the acidity of the vinegar is used to kill harmful bacteria.
HearCare in Rhode Island
With these tips in mind, you should be able to protect your hearing far into the future. However, if you suspect that you might be losing some hearing ability, don’t delay to contact our team at HearCare for a hearing test and consultation.
With the information gathered from the exam, if a hearing loss is detected, we will be able to recommend a range of hearing aids to suit your individual needs, and you will be surprised to learn how effective and advanced hearing assistive technology has become. Prevention is the first step, but assistance is available when it becomes necessary!