Some cases of hearing loss come on naturally due to the aging process. In many cases, however, patients in Aberdeen and South Bend can prevent hearing loss effectively. For example, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which is responsible for one-fourth of all cases of impaired hearing, is entirely preventable by using proper ear protection. Along with NIHL, hearing loss caused by infections, diseases, ototoxic medications, ear injuries and head or neck trauma can often be prevented.
At West Coast Hearing Clinic, educating community members in Aberdeen and South Bend about hearing loss prevention is a top priority. We provide hearing conservation programs for coastal Washington companies interested in protecting workers’ hearing along with offering personal education to our patients when they visit our clinics.
Here’s a look at different causes of hearing loss and how to prevent them from happening to you and your loved ones.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Each day, millions of Americans expose their ears to sounds that are potentially permanently damaging. Worse, many of them don’t realize that they’re jeopardizing their hearing health as it’s happening. Any sound over 85 decibels (dB) is considered dangerous. This means that activities like attending concerts, going to sporting events, using power tools, shooting firearms and riding motorcycles necessitate focusing on hearing loss prevention for Aberdeen and South Bend residents. Many workplaces, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors, also present daily dangers.
To prevent hearing loss from loud noise exposure, always have a pair of quality earplugs or earmuffs handy and ready to use. If there is even a slight potential for loud noise, make sure you use them. If you’re someone who regularly experiences loud environments at work, home or through your hobbies, custom earmolds may be the best way to ensure your hearing is truly protected.
Hearing Loss from Infection or Disease
Several infections, diseases and illnesses are known to potentially cause hearing loss, including measles, mumps, acoustic neuromas, rubella, whooping cough, syphilis and meningitis. Many of these conditions are preventable by getting vaccinated, using protection during sexual activity and seeking medical attention immediately if you sense a problem with your auditory system.
Hearing Loss from Ototoxic Medications
Many common medications are known to be ototoxic, meaning they can cause hearing loss or tinnitus. Some of the most-prescribed ototoxic medications include some chemotherapy drugs, diuretics, salicylate medications (including aspirin) and antibiotics. To prevent hearing loss from ototoxic medications, talk to your doctor about side effects and visit an audiologist immediately if you notice any changes in your hearing when taking these drugs.
Hearing Loss from Injury or Trauma
The hearing system is very delicate, so injuries to the ear, head or neck can sometimes result in hearing loss. While trauma isn’t always preventable, you can take some precautions to protect yourself and your ears. Some of the best rules to follow include avoiding putting foreign objects (including cotton swabs) in your ear, using swimmer’s earplugs to prevent infection, wearing your seatbelt, using proper protective gear during physical activities and avoiding situations in which you could fall and get hurt.