It may seem inevitable that you experience hearing loss as you grow older but it is important not to overlook this aspect of your health.
Medical Advisor to Hidden Hearing and television doctor, Dr Hilary Jones, says 'Looking after the health of our hearing is vital to living a long and prosperous life. Hearing health is easily overlooked, but the consequences of early damage and untreated hearing loss on an individual’s health and quality of life can be severe.'
The facts about hearing loss
Here are 10 tips for protecting your hearing and preventing hearing loss.
Surprising ways you can help prevent hearing loss
Turn down the volume
Teenagers might disagree, but louder isn’t better. The louder the music, the more likely it will become distorted. In fact, music sounds better at lower levels that don’t harm your ears. So turn down the volume on your TV, radio, mobile phone, iPod and car stereo.
Do you find you can’t hear the TV any more?
Reduce your exposure
Loud noises are brutal on your ears. Live concerts are an easy and obvious target since the volume is loud. But you can damage your hearing just as easily by not protecting your ears while mowing a lawn, working with power tools or attending an air show.
You may not always be able to avoid loud noises, but you can limit your exposure. If you can’t avoid it, give your ears a break by walking away from the loud noise for 10 minutes. Even better, keep a pair of ear plugs with you and wear them.
Today, if you work in a noisy environment above 85 Db you should be issued with some form of hearing protection. If you have a noisy interest or hobby do make sure that you wear appropriate protection for your ears. There are many different options available from standard ear plugs to custom fit hearing protection – both work well and are worth the investment.
Use the 60:60 rule
The general rule for this is a good one. To enjoy music from your MP3 player on the go, listen to your music at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
Don’t use cotton buds
Resist putting anything in your ear to clean them. Our ears are so delicate and need protecting. You will increase your chances of an ear infection if you use cotton buds or fingers to clean your ears.
Be aware of noise at work
By law your employer is bound to protect your hearing in the workplace. So even if you’re not in a traditionally noisy environment but are exposed to noise that you are concerned about, do talk to your manager or human resources department for advice on reducing the noise and getting hearing protection.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
Making certain healthy lifestyle choices can help to protect your hearing and ward off hearing loss for years to come. Get plenty of exercise. Cardio exercise like walking, running or cycling helps to improve blood flow to your ears, which is good for your hearing.
It's even better if you can do your exercise somewhere nice and quiet, like the woods or a secluded beach, as this also gives your ears a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Get your hearing checked
If you are having any trouble with your hearing or are experiencing ear pain, it's a good idea to see your GP. Depending on the issue, you may need to see a specialist. They will perform a series of tests to determine whether your hearing has been damaged and the sooner it can be diagnosed the more effective treatment can be.
Seven conditions a hearing test may find
Recognise the signs
Typically, if you can say yes to one or more of the following then you could be experiencing the early signs of a hearing loss and should get it checked:
• Turning the TV or radio up
• You're finding people seem to be mumbling more
• Avoiding social situations
• Struggling to hear children’s voices
Make hearing checks routine
You may have your teeth and eyes checked regularly, but what about your ears?
Is it time to get your hearing checked?