How to Protect Your Hearing Health: Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In the United States alone, an estimated 37.5 million people have some degree of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). However, many people in the Los Angeles area and throughout the US are not aware of the steps they can take to protect their hearing health and prevent hearing loss. In this article, we will discuss the causes of hearing loss, and provide practical tips for maintaining healthy hearing.
Understanding Hearing Loss
There are three main types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem with the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include ear infections, earwax buildup, and damage to the eardrum or middle ear bones.
Sensorineural hearing loss, on the other hand, occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. This type of hearing loss is often caused by age-related changes, exposure to loud noise, and certain medications or medical conditions.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is often caused by a combination of factors, such as chronic ear infections and noise exposure.
To find out what type of hearing loss you or a loved one has, it’s important to get a hearing test to determine the type and severity of your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing tests that can be performed by an audiologist or certified hearing healthcare provider. At American Hearing and Balance, our audiologists and certified hearing professionals can evaluate your hearing loss through a variety of these tests.
Tips for Preventing Hearing Loss
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect your hearing health and prevent hearing loss:
Wear earplugs or earmuffs in noisy environments
One of the most common causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. If you work in a noisy environment here in the Los Angeles area, such as a construction site or factory, it's important to wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears. Even if you don't work in a loud environment, you should still be mindful of the noise level of your surroundings. For example, if you attend a concert or sporting event, consider wearing earplugs to reduce the risk of hearing damage.
Turn down the volume on personal audio devices
People in Westchester, Westwood, Marina del Rey and Santa Monica enjoy using personal audio devices, such as smartphones and MP3 players, but these can also contribute to hearing loss if they are played too loudly. To protect your hearing, turn down the volume on your personal audio devices, and limit your listening time to no more than an hour at a time.
Take regular breaks from loud sounds
If you do find yourself in a noisy environment, take regular breaks to give your ears a rest. For example, if you're using power tools or attending a concert, take a break every 15 minutes to step outside or find a quiet space.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
Many people in the Los Angeles area are surprised to learn that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can both contribute to hearing loss. Smoking can damage the blood vessels in the inner ear, while excessive alcohol consumption can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. To protect your hearing health, quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.
Eat a healthy diet that includes antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
Research has shown that a healthy diet can also help protect hearing health. Foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as berries and leafy greens, can help protect the hair cells in the inner ear. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and nuts, have also been shown to be beneficial for hearing health.
Get regular exercise and manage stress levels
Exercise can also be beneficial for hearing health. Research has shown that regular exercise can improve blood flow to the inner ear, which can help protect hearing. Managing stress levels is also important, as chronic stress can contribute to hearing loss.
Screening and Treatment Options
If you are experiencing hearing loss, it's important to get a hearing screening as soon as possible. A hearing screening is a simple test that can determine if you have hearing loss and the severity of the condition. Early detection is key to preventing further damage to your hearing.
If you do have hearing loss, there are several treatment options available. Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. They work by amplifying sound and improving the clarity of speech. There are many different types of hearing aids available, from behind-the-ear models to in-the-ear models. At American Hearing and Balance, our hearing doctors take the time to understand your preferences and lifestyle, and match you with the appropriate hearing aids that will best meet your needs. Hearing aids are not “one model fits all.”
Cochlear implants are another option for people with severe hearing loss. They are small electronic devices that are surgically implanted into the inner ear. They work by bypassing the damaged hair cells in the inner ear and directly stimulating the auditory nerve.
Assistive listening devices, such as FM systems and amplified telephones, can also be helpful for people with hearing loss. These devices work by amplifying sound and making it easier to hear in specific situations, such as in noisy environments or on the telephone.
Schedule With American Hearing and Balance Today
Hearing loss is a common condition that can have a significant impact on your quality of life. However, there are many steps you can take to protect your hearing health and prevent hearing loss. By wearing earplugs or earmuffs in noisy environments, turning down the volume on personal audio devices, taking regular breaks from loud sounds, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress levels, you can help protect your hearing health.
If you are experiencing hearing loss, it's important to get a hearing screening as soon as possible and explore the treatment options available. By taking proactive steps to protect your hearing health, you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy hearing. We have locations in Westchester, Santa Monica, Westwood, Marina del Rey, Torrance, Manhattan Beach and Long Beach. Don’t suffer from untreated hearing loss for another day! Call American Hearing and Balance now to schedule an appointment.