In the United States, hearing loss is becoming a major issue. In fact, approximately 48 million Americans experience some hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Whether you have a genetic history of hearing loss or not, it is crucial to take good care of your ears. If you don't, you may be vulnerable to hearing problems in the future. Read on to learn six ways you may be damaging your hearing.
1. Listening to Loud Music
Loud music is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. When you listen to loud music, the tiny hair cells in your ears suffer damage.
When listening to music through headphones, be conscious of the volume. If you can't hear the person next to you talk, it means that your music is too loud. If you attend a concert, consider wearing earplugs to reduce some of the sound. You may also want to sit or stand at least 10 feet away from the speakers and take periodic breaks in quiet areas.
2. Cleaning Your Ears With Cotton Swabs
When you have wax in your ears, you may be tempted to remove it with a cotton swab. Unfortunately, this can rupture your eardrum and increase your risk of hearing loss. In most cases, all you need is a shower to loosen ear wax. However, if you still have a lot of wax in your ears, you may want to see your doctor. He or she can help you remove the excess wax safely and effectively.
3. Taking Certain Medications
The medicine you take regularly could be affecting your hearing. Ototoxic medicines such as aspirin, loop diuretics, and ibuprofen are known for contributing to hearing loss. If you are using any of these medications on a regular basis, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend alternative solutions so that you do not damage your hearing any further.
4. Not Wearing Hearing Protection
While it is best to stay away from loud noise altogether, sometimes you can't avoid it. When you do have to be around machinery, lawnmowers, and other loud objects, do not forget to wear your earplugs. They will block out a lot of the sound and prevent the hair cells in your ears from getting damaged.
5. Not Treating Ear Infections
Ear infections can lead to hearing loss if they are not treated properly. The infection can block sounds from passing through the middle ear. That is why it is important to see your doctor immediately if you have an ear infection. He or she can give you antibiotics to treat the infection so that it doesn't affect your hearing.
You are probably aware that smoking affects your lungs. Did you also know that it can harm your ears? The nicotine in cigarettes can tighten the blood vessels in your ears, reducing blood flow and oxygen to your inner ear. If the tiny hair cells in your ears do not receive enough oxygen, they can suffer. If you are a smoker, you may want to ask your doctor for advice about quitting.
Get Regular Hearing Checkups
You should get your hearing tested regularly. If you are under the age of 50, schedule a professional hearing checkup once a year. If your doctor detects signs of hearing loss during your checkup, he or she may recommend the appropriate treatments.
If you make an effort to take good care of your ears and avoid bad habits, you are less likely to suffer hearing loss in the future. For more information about hearing loss, contact House of Hearing Inc.