Hearing loss is something which occurs gradually as you age and it is common for all sorts of people to go through it. But there is also a growing number of younger people who are suffering from this condition – mainly due to exposure to loud noises. Sometimes, the answer can be as simple as a buildup of excessive earwax, but other times, it can be something more serious and permanent. While a huge proportion of hearing loss cannot be reversed, more and more treatments are becoming available all the time. So, if you think that you, someone in your life or your kids may be suffering from hearing loss, here is a guide which will hopefully provide you with some information which will come in handy.
Identifying the Symptoms
First of all, it helps to know what the common symptoms of hearing loss are. There may be a muffling of speech and other sounds. You may have difficulty understanding words – particularly when there is a great deal of background noise. Consonants tend to be hard to pick out which can lead to misunderstandings. Perhaps you are finding that you are having to ask people to repeat themselves all the time or you find yourself needing to turn up the volume of your TV or radio. All of this may grow and contribute to a complete avoidance of social settings for fear that you will make a fool of yourself.
Deciding When to See a Doctor
If you or your children have a sudden loss of hearing, you should seek immediate medical attention. Also, if you find that your hearing is interfering with your daily life, this the time that you need to get some professional guidance. But you should also make a habit of having your hearing tested on a regular basis to make sure that everything is okay – and if it is not, you can do something about it at the earliest possible opportunity.
How Can Hearing Loss Occur?
There are a number of different reasons why hearing loss can occur. First of all, damage to the inner ear and wear and tear of the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea. This can be caused by exposure to loud noises or just general ageing. When this occurs, higher pitched tones are likely to become muffled first. A gradual buildup of earwax can also block the ear canal, preventing the conduction of sound waves. Alternatively, hearing loss may be the result of an ear infection. In more serious cases, a ruptured eardrum can seriously affect your ability to hear.
What Are the Common Risk Factors?
There are plenty of risk factors involved in hearing loss – some which you can do something about and some which you can’t. Obviously, you can’t do a great deal about getting older, but there are plenty of plenty of other lifestyle factors which you can influence. For example, there are lots of occupations which can contribute to hearing loss such as farming, construction or factory work. And there are many recreational activities as well including motorcycling and simply listening to loud music.
Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss
There are various techniques that you can use to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and the worsening effects of that which is directly related to age. Let’s start with the workplace. If you work in a particularly noisy environment, you can invest in some specifically designed earmuffs that are designed to bring loud sounds down to a more acceptable level. You could also look into getting some custom-designed earplugs made of plastic or rubber to protect your ears from damaging noise.
We have already talked about having your ears tested on a regular basis, but it is worth reiterating here. If you get a professional to check your ears often, you will be in a better position to prevent further hearing loss later in life. You should also make an effort to avoid the recreational risks out there. Limit the activities which involve exposure to loud noises such as motorbiking, snowmobiling or going to live concerts. Wearing hearing protectors can also make a big difference, though you should also aim to take breaks from the noise as much as possible. When you are listening to music through earbuds, turn down the volume and limit your exposure to no more than an hour a day.
Helping Others with Hearing Loss
There are plenty of ways that you can help someone who has hearing loss, and you can also apply this advice to yourself if you are the one who is suffering. When you are communicating with someone with hearing loss, use their name to get their attention. Try to limit any background noise which is causing them difficulties such as the TV or stereo system. Speak slowly and clearly, but don’t increase the volume at which you are speaking as this is only likely to make your words more distorted and difficult to follow. Try to make the topic of the conversation as consistent as possible so that you are not making yourself difficult to follow.
If your kids are the ones who are suffering from hearing loss, make sure that you take the time to explain to other parents what is going on, so they can then pass on good communication tips and advice. Consult with specialists on a regular basis, and take the time to look out for any products which may provide a helping hand such as the Best Phones for the hearing impaired 2018: Reviewed and Rated. Sometimes, showing a bit of empathy and listening to the way that they are feeling is all that is required.
Whether you or someone close to you is going through hearing loss, there is no doubt that it can be an extremely challenging time. But hopefully, this guide has acted to make things just a little bit easier so that you know what action to take and signs to look out for.
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