We’ve talked about risk factors for hearing loss, and by now you know many of the common (and not-so-common) causes of hearing loss. Now let’s discuss how you can reduce your risk for developing hearing loss.
Risk Factors of Hearing Loss We Have Discussed:
- Noise Exposure
- Ototoxic Chemicals and Medications
- Premature Birth
- Genetic Abnormalities
- Diseases and Conditions
Obviously not all of these can be avoided, but we do have control over our risk for the most common causes of hearing loss: noise exposure, ototoxic chemicals and medications, and therapies.
Loud Noise Exposure
Noise exposure, either short- or long-term, is by far the most common cause of hearing loss.
Whether you are exposed to short bursts of very loud noises or frequent/constant exposure to loud noise of lower frequencies… that damage is cumulative and can cause permanent hearing loss, especially the more it happens.
Prevention of noise-induced hearing loss is not complicated, however. Preparation is key: purchase earplugs to carry wherever you go. That way you’ll be ready when you are confronted with loud noises, whether they are expected or not.
If you don’t like the feel of cheaper earplugs that are readily available in drugstores, look into custom ear plugs at your audiologist’s office. Custom ear plugs are fitted to conform to your ear canal’s shape. Not only do they provide more protection from expected loud noise (like music or machinery), they can allow you to hear the things you need to hear while protecting from the noises that damage our hearing.
Ototoxic Medications and Chemicals
You may know that high doses of aspirin often cause ringing in the ears (tinnitus), but did you know that all NSAID over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are ototoxic? That means they can cause temporary hearing loss, which is usually resolved once the medication is ceased, but in some cases can cause permanent damage if used too frequently at high doses. . Agricultural and factory chemicals can also sometimes be ototoxic, and most cigarettes also contain them.
Therapies and Medical Interventions
Some antibiotics and chemotherapies can also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. When stopping these medications, symptoms usually die down. Another medical intervention that can affect hearing health is radiation therapy. This is observed particularly in cases where radiation is concentrated around the ears.
Hearing loss is not inevitable for most people! Take these easy steps to avoid hearing loss and you can be hearing well into your golden years! One last important preventative measure is annual hearing screenings. These yearly checks will tell you if there is any change from the previous year even before you notice it! That will give you an edge on preventing further hearing loss and stop it in it’s tracks.
We’re proud to have served Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and the entire Bay Area for more than 40 years. We’re here to provide the right solution for Your Life, Your Style.
You are invited to attend our Listen Up Café!
Listen Up Café, Friday, February 21, 2020 from 10 am -12 pm
Balance Disorders and Hearing Loss
RSVP by calling us at 408.703.0772 to reserve your spot!
We’ll have light refreshments and a Hearing Loss great discussion—see you there!
Los Gatos Audiology – 15899 Los Gatos-Almaden Rd. Suite 8, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (on the corner of National and Los Gatos-Almaden Rd.) www.losgatosaudiology.com