Hearing loss can occur at any age, and it’s more prevalent after age 60. But it doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are many steps you can take to avoid a hearing loss and prevent it from worsening. In unsettling times like the COVID-19 lockdown, our ability to hear is of paramount importance, since it’s a lifeline to the world around us. It connects us to breaking news, family phone calls, and even the doorbell signaling deliveries. Here are some simple ways to protect your sense of hearing.
1. Lower the Volume
Ironically, sound itself is often responsible for our inability to hear. Sudden loud sounds and prolonged moderate sounds cause hearing loss. Some things cause instant hearing loss, like loud explosions, head trauma, or disease, and are considered an emergency. Other sounds, like lawnmowers, televisions, and power tools create gradual hearing loss over time. Whenever possible, lower the volume and limit exposure to loud noises.
One way to assess if your volume is too high is to listen to loved ones. If they frequently ask you to turn the TV down, or often have to repeat themselves, it’s a sign your hearing is compromised. Particularly in situations like lockdowns, you want to hear every word of a FaceTime, Zoom, or phone calls. If you find yourself struggling to hear like you used to, schedule an appointment at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates for solutions.
2. Use Protective Gear
Sometimes sounds can’t be avoided. If you work as a musician, landscaper, construction worker, or in a factory your life is filled with noise. Be proactive by wearing protective gear like noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. If you’re headed to a concert or movie theater, wear sound protection. Or watch concerts and movies on your own TV where you can control the volume. For hobbies involving noisemakers like electric saws, use protective gear and take frequent breaks from the noise.
Over-the-ear, noise-canceling headphones and earbud-style headphones are not the same things. Listening to music and movies with earbuds can actually damage hearing because of the speaker’s proximity to your eardrums. Loud sounds through earphones cause hair cells in the cochlea to bend severely, causing damage. But over-the-ear, noise-canceling headphones protect hearing.
3. Address Hearing Loss Promptly
Some people postpone consulting an audiologist because the thought of hearing aids makes them uncomfortable. But hearing aid technology has seen incredible advances resulting in small, discreet, and remarkably capable devices. When hearing loss goes untreated, it compounds the problem. If you can’t hear certain sounds, your brain stops recognizing them. Without the stimulation of your hearing nerve, it becomes increasingly difficult to interpret sounds.
Additionally, untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression, and even dementia. Relationships are impacted by the inability to effectively communicate. This is even more devastating in times of isolation like a lockdown. The sound of a loved one’s voice is a source of comfort amidst loneliness. The caring team at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates can give you the hearing care that you need in order for you to be able to stay connected.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Hearing aids can prevent hearing loss and restore the loss you’ve already sustained. By providing your ears with quality sound, they also protect your cognitive ability to decipher and interpret speech. The latest hearing aids are equipped with innovative technology to keep you connected, like Remote Assist, which allows audiologists to adjust your hearing aid remotely.
And at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, we also have the technology to provide appointments in the comfort of your own home. If you require further assistance, please call us at (541) 612-7555 or click here to schedule an Access Audiology consultation.