Construction worker holding up a pair of ear muffs, a form of hearing protection

6 Best Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss

Published: December 4, 2020

Updated: March 23, 2022

How to prevent hearing loss

Hearing is an important sense that is used to communicate effectively, which is why it’s so important to protect your hearing. Any damage to your ear and hearing can be irreversible and cause hearing loss and the impact of hearing loss can extend beyond communication. A hearing loss is often not considered life-threatening, but it does have an effect on your quality of life.  It can cause problems with academic, social, emotional, and vocational development, as well as lead to health-related complications.

Tips on how to protect your hearing

Avoid loud noises or sounds

Avoid environments that are very loud for long periods. The World Health Organisation has recommended a sound level of not more than 80 dBA for adults and 75 dBA for children for personal listening devices. Some personal listening devices give a warning that the volume level is above the safe listening level. Don’t turn the volume above the safe listening volume level. Try to avoid sounds from motorcycles, standing too close to music concert speakers, power tools like saws and drills, and airplanes flying close overhead.

Limit your exposure to loud sounds

It is not always possible to avoid noisy environments, especially if you work in a noisy place or near to one. Try to reduce the amount spent in those unavoidable situations and always wear hearing protectors.

Hearing protection

In unavoidable situations, using hearing protectors can help protect your hearing.

  • Earmuffs are worn over the ears and can cut out a certain amount of sound, depending on the noise reduction rating of that earmuff. Earmuffs can be bought over the counter.
  • Earplugs fit inside the ear and will also be able to cut out a certain amount of sound, depending on the noise reduction rating of that earplug. Some earplugs can reduce the sound levels across all frequencies. Earplugs can be bought over the counter or are custom made to use, whilst offering sufficient hearing protection.

How do you know if your ear protectors are offering sufficient protection?

You need to know the noise level in the environment you spend time in or work in. Speak to your occupational health and safety officer.

Vaccines

It is essential for both children and adults to be up to date with their immunizations. There are vaccines available to help prevent hearing loss. Vaccines against mumps, rubella, measles, pneumonia, meningitis, chickenpox, and the flu can help prevent hearing loss. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), has recommended vaccines against hearing loss.

Treat ear infections as soon as possible.

Ear infections can cause hearing loss. If left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the auditory system. It is best to consult with your doctor as soon as you or your child experience ear infection symptoms.

Do not use earbuds to remove wax

Do not use earbuds to remove the wax from your ears. It pushes the ear wax further inside the ear. A reasonable amount of wax is needed to keep your ear moist and prevent insects from entering the ear; however, excessive wax in the ear can cause a temporary hearing loss. Speak to your hearing healthcare professional to assist with wax removal.

Ototoxic medications

There are approximately 200 drugs that can cause ototoxicity. It is essential to speak to your health care professional about the medications before you take them. Find out if there are other medications available, which are not ototoxic or less ototoxic. Should there be no alternative medication available, have your hearing tested on a regular basis.  This helps to pick up any hearing changes.

Hearing screening

Hearing screening helps to detect if there are changes to one’s hearing level. Regular hearing screening can help identify changes to your hearing level early and get help as soon as possible.

Image of post writer Kajal Ramnarian.

Written by Kajal Ramnarian

B. Communication Pathology Audiology

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