13 Jul 2018
Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent health issues in America today, affecting approximately 20% of the population. The complications of untreated hearing loss include impaired memory, reduced job performance, and diminished psychological health, among others. Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing loss are critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
England’s National Health Service has identified five effective ways to prevent hearing loss without compromising your style of life:
1) First and foremost, avoid loud noises. Generally speaking, noises greater than 85 decibels (the equivalent of busy city traffic) can be harmful.
2) Take notice of the volume of music. Music playing above 60% volume on most wireless device headphones can result in hearing loss. You should also limit the amount of time you use earphones or headphones. And take a break for a few minutes every hour.
3) Be careful at loud events and activities. Sports games and concerts almost always exceed the previously mentioned 85 decibel threshold at one point or another. Move away from the loudspeakers – a set of reusable musicians earplugs can be instrumental in preventing inner ear damage.
4) Take precautions in your workplace. If you work in an abnormally loud work environment, take steps to lower the daily noise level to help prevent long-term hearing loss.
5) Consider getting regular hearing checks, perhaps annually. The sooner hearing loss is detected, the earlier something can be done to address it.
In addition to environmental factors, as indicated above, hearing loss can also be a result of genetic factors as well as certain medical conditions. According to the American Diabetes Association, a recent study found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss.
Additionally, certain types of medical treatments such as ototoxic medications, which include forms of chemotherapy as well as medicines to treat heart disease and infections, have been found to cause hearing loss over the long term.
Huge strides have been made in the past few years in the treatment and technology available to those with hearing loss. The advent of Completely in the Canal (CIC) and Invisible in the Canal (IIC) hearing aids have addressed the stigma of hearing care, while making hearing aids more comfortable and customizable. A balance between preventative measures and testing can limit an individual’s likelihood of hearing loss, and treatment can be a cost-effective option that improves quality of life.
Early diagnosis is imperative to living a happier, healthier life, and can prevent many of the more serious effects of long-term hearing loss.