Ear Health and Preventing Hearing Loss

As a natural consequence of aging, hearing can slowly diminish. It’s unknown why this happens, but it seems to be hereditary. Other causes of hearing loss include loud noise, taking certain medications. Hearing loss can occur when an ear infection called otitis media is not properly treated. An ear wax plug can cause temporary loss if not removed. We all should be concerned about our ear health and take steps to understand the cause of our loss of hearing and take precautions to prevent damage to our precious ears.

A common cause of hearing damage is exposure to loud noises which can damage the inner ear permanently. About 26 million American have high frequency hearing loss because of loud noises at work or listening to loud music.

Ear checkups

In some types of hereditary hearing damage, abnormal growth of a bone prevents important structures in the ear from functioning properly. Sometimes a hard blow to the head can lead to deafness.

Hearing Protection

The most preventable way to avoid loss of hearing is to avoid loud noises such as loud music, lawn movers, snow blowers and other loud machinery. If you must be near the noise, protect your ears by wearing devices such as earplugs. Cotton or other soft plugs will not prevent damage from loud noises.

If you have a plug of ear wax stuck in your ear, use mineral oil or ear drops to clear it out. When you get ear related respiratory infections, always wash your hands and visit a doctor if the infection persists.

Hearing Tests

Anyone who suspects they suffer from hearing damage should visit an audiologist. First a history of your medical and hearing records will be taken. The audiologist will then look inside both your ears using a bright light and look for any problem in the ear canal that may influence the test results or he may refer you to a doctor. Next, several test will be given that will determine if you have any loss of hearing, how serious that loss is and what would be the best treatment. Also he will determine if it is affecting one or both ears. An attempt is also made to determine the cause of the loss.