May is Better Hearing Month, and this year, we are all about hearing protection.
Losing your hearing isn’t the same as breaking a bone, which often can be broken and repaired multiple times. Hearing loss can’t be repaired. It’s permanent. Once you have lost even a fraction of your hearing, there is no going back.
In order to preserve your hearing, it is important to take preventative steps early on and to always protect your ears whenever they are exposed to loud noises over long periods of time. Below are some tips for keeping your hearing healthy:
- Wear earplugs at musical concerts inside and outside.
- Wear earplugs at sporting events such as football, baseball or hockey games.
- Don’t listen to music through MP3 devices and earbuds at high volumes or for long periods of time.
- Try to limit your exposure to loud noises without hearing protection such as power tools, fireworks and airplanes.
- Get a hearing test every year to keep an eye on your hearing. Hearing aids can help preserve hearing and limit continued loss, so the earlier you catch a hearing loss the better.
- Bars and clubs can be very loud, so consider wearing earplugs or limiting your exposure to loud music and crowds.
- Wear earplugs when flying, as noise levels inside an airplane can harm your hearing.
- Wear hearing protection if you are hunting or shooting.
- If you are exposed to noise for long periods of time, take breaks and step away for some quiet. This will help your ears relax and give them a break from trying to handle all the noise.
- Use noise-cancelling headphones.
- Check medications for the possible side effect of hearing loss. There are about 200 medications that are potentially ototoxic, or damaging to your hearing.
- Do your best to keep your blood pressure under control, as changes can affect the delicate inner structures of your ears.
- Smoking can increase the risk of hearing loss. Try to stay away from those who are smoking, or if you do smoke, do your best to quit or at least cut back as much as possible.
- Don’t use cotton swabs to remove earwax from your ears as they can actually push the wax or debris further in. Instead, consider an at-home irrigation kit to help soften wax so that it may be gently washed out. Excessive buildup may require removal by a doctor.
Keeping your hearing healthy is an important part of your physical and mental well-being. Many people take their hearing for granted until it’s too late, so take these preventive tips to heart for better hearing today!