It’s estimated that, by 2050, one in ten people will suffer from disabling hearing loss (WHO).
Hearing loss occurs naturally as we age and can’t always be avoided, but there are a number of ways we can protect our ears to prevent premature hearing damage.
Exposure to loud sounds:
Over-exposure to loud sounds is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Any sound over 70 decibels (dB) can be damaging to our ears. So, whether you listen to your speakers too loud or attend events with noisy crowds, prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause your hearing to deteriorate.
The best way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is simply to avoid over-exposure to loud sounds. Turn your speakers down, listen to headphones at a safe volume and if you are at an event where it’s not possible to avoid loud noise, use hearing protection to protect your ears.
There are lots of options when it comes to buying hearing protection. Standard off-the-shelf earplugs are cheap and give you some level of protection, although poorly fitting earplugs can still let damaging sound levels through. Custom hearing protectors are a great alternative. Moulded to fit your ears perfectly, they will reduce loud noises to a safe level. An experienced audiologist can create earplugs that limit noise levels without muffling the sound, so you won’t feel disconnected and can still enjoy your event.
Ear wax removal:
Ear wax is a natural substance that helps to keep our ears clean and healthy. But, if it starts to build up, it can block the ear canal and cause temporary hearing loss. Cleaning your ears using cotton buds often causes more harm than good, pushing the ear wax further down the ear canal and damaging your eardrum. This damage may result in permanent hearing loss.
If you are suffering from symptoms of ear wax build-up, such as pain, ear ringing or hearing loss, you should visit a hearing care specialist. We recommend visiting a professional who is trained to offer microsuction ear wax removal. This is a safe and painless procedure that uses a gentle suction tool to remove ear wax and clear the ear canal, quickly restoring your hearing.
Ear infections cause fluid build-up and swelling in your ear canal. Not only is this painful, it can also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. While ear infections are not always preventable, there are several ways to decrease the chance of getting one.
Being in the water a lot is one of the main causes of ear infections. Whether you swim, surf or scuba dive, regular exposure to water can cause your ears to become sensitive. When water gets trapped in your ears, it creates an environment that allows bacteria to grow. The best way to prevent bacterial ear infections is to use custom earplugs designed to seal water out of the ear canal. Audiologists can mould earplugs that fit your ear perfectly, so they are comfortable to wear and extremely effective.
Another avoidable cause of ear infections is smoking. When smoke passes through your nose and mouth into the eustachian tube in the middle ear, it can damage the tissue and make your ears more susceptible to infection. Avoiding smoking, or even second-hand smoke can also help to reduce the risk of contracting ear infections.
Anshul Morjaria, expert audiologist at London Hearing Specialist explains that ‘regular hearing checks are crucial to keeping track of your hearing and detecting issues early on.’ As hearing loss happens gradually, a decline in your hearing can often go unnoticed. A hearing care specialist will assess your hearing ability and use this as a benchmark at future appointments, any significant changes in your hearing can then be quickly detected and the cause diagnosed.
As well as regular check-ups, it’s important to see your audiologist straight away if you are experiencing ear aches or pains. Whether it’s impacted ear wax, an ear infection or a perforated eardrum, discovering problems early will help prevent the issue from getting worse and having a permanent effect on your hearing.
Whatever your age, it is never too soon or too late to start looking after your hearing. Once your hearing is damaged, it will never recover, so protecting your ears is crucial to ensure your hearing lasts a lifetime.