Many people experience hearing loss. Here are five of the most common causes and how you can protect yourself from each of them.
Loud Noise Exposure
Loud noises can overwork the hair cells in the ear, which can cause them to die. This can lead to irreversible hearing loss.
Anything over 85 decibels can cause damage, but this has to be for prolonged periods. Once the volume reaches above 100 decibels things can get more serious and hearing damage can occur in minutes – most concerts, construction sites, airports, and nightclubs are over this volume.
You can prevent hearing damage from loud noise exposure by wearing ear protection in noisy environments. In some cases, you may even be able to control the volume such as when listening to music in the car (if you’re driving down a highway at full speed with the radio on and you can’t hear the car or the road, it’s probably a good sign you should turn it down).
Using Cotton Buds
Many of us use cotton buds to clear out our ears. However, cotton buds can have the adverse effect of pushing earwax further into the ear, which can cause damage to the eardrum in some cases. You may even be damaging the ear canal by using a cotton bud.
It’s much safer to clean out excess earwax using eardrops and warm water. Having some ear wax can, in fact, be normal and healthy – unless it’s visible or causing a blockage, there may be no need to remove it.
Getting Water Trapped In Your Ear
If you regularly go swimming, you should be wary of getting water trapped in your ears. This trapped water could lead to swimmer’s ear – this is an infection that can result in temporary hearing loss (or permanent hearing loss if there are complications).
Wearing a swim cap is the best way to prevent water from getting in your ears. There are also earplugs and hearing aids designed for swimmers – you can find advice on such earplugs and hearing aids by consulting a specialized audiologist, which you can learn more about here. Drying your ears after going in the water may also make an impact.
Certain anti-inflammatory painkillers like naproxen and ibuprofen can have the side effect of causing damage to the ears if overused. This is most common among people with chronic pain who may be heavily reliant on painkillers.
You can prevent such hearing loss by taking a break from such painkillers now and again. There may be herbal forms of pain relief that you can switch to as a substitute.
As we get older, cells in the body naturally die. This includes cells in the ears, which do not grow back. This leads to hearing loss in later life.
Unlike causes, there is nothing you can do to stop yourself from getting older. However, eating the right diet, exercising regularly and reducing stress in your life may be able to have an impact on how quickly our ear cells die.