Many changes will happen to your body as soon as you start aging. It’s normal, and often, it’s not preventable. But one exception to unpreventable changes is hearing loss. Hearing loss is prevalent in older adults. That’s because as you age, the tiny hair cells inside your inner ears will slowly break down and will not anymore be able to pick up sound vibrations like they used to. Thus, you may end up pressing the “volume up” button from the TV remote, or you’ll often ask the people around you to speak louder than usual.
The good news is, hearing loss for aging people is preventable. It’s often determined by how you take good care of them during your younger years that will reduce the risk of losing your hearing ability as you age. Keep in mind that once your hearing ability is damaged, it will be gone for good. The only option for you is to wear an artificial hearing aid to help you hear. Older adults who can’t anymore hear clearly may feel depressed and will attempt to socially withdraw because they feel embarrassed and frustrated about not hearing quickly enough about what other people talk about. Sometimes, they are mistaken as unresponsive and uncooperative because they couldn’t hear on the first attempt.
That’s why awareness is fundamental so people will put more value and effort into taking care and preserving their hearing. Most importantly, you must be aware of how to protect your hearing from your younger years, up until you age. To begin, here are seven ways on how you can protect your hearing as you age.
- Avoid Loud Noises
You may ask how loud is too loud for your ears. If you’re in a noisy place wherein you need to shout just to communicate, then you’re already in a dangerously loud place. Some loud and boisterous things and places that could damage your hearing may include concerts with loud speakers, booming motorcycles, saws and drills, and even too much volume from your earphones can have an impact. There’s a difference between listening to music and loud, noisy music. So regardless if you’re a young adult or a senior, it’s best for your ears if you avoid loud places with loud, uncontrollable noises.
- Be Proactive And Eat Healthily
Did you know that regular exercise and physical activity are good for your ears? Cardio exercises like running, cycling, swimming, and walking can make your blood pump through all parts of your body, including your ears. This way, the internal parts of your ears will work to their utmost potential.
Aside from that, your healthy diet can also affect the quality of your hearing. According to MD Hearing Aid’s extra resources, certain vitamins like C, E, B12, and Beta Carotene will reduce your risk of hearing loss. So, get moving and eat more healthy foods on your plate to preserve your sense of hearing.
- Be A Quiet Enforcer
Perhaps you’ve noticed how some of your older friends or relatives are starting to become warier of the noise surrounding them. That’s because the older you get, the more conscious you become about noises and how you’ll appreciate quieter surroundings more. For that reason, be one with them and be a quiet enforcer. You can do this by switching to using appliances that produce little to no noise. If you visit a place with too much noise, such as restaurants, you can tell their staff to turn the noise down.
- Wear Hearing Protection
Suppose you’ll be visiting an expectedly loud place for longer than a few minutes. In that case, think about wearing ear protection. You can either wear earplugs or earmuffs.
- Earplugs – They are often made of rubber or foam. You put them into your ear canal, and they can reduce noise from fifteen to thirty decibels. You can buy them from stores or have ones personalized for you. Some earplugs can lower noise levels evenly. They are often used by people who want to reduce the sound’s volume without distorting it.
- Earmuffs – Earmuffs will completely cover your ears. For them to work, they’ll need to fit perfectly tight over your ears so the loud noise will be completely blocked.
You can also opt to wear both earplugs and earmuffs at the same time for even greater protection.
- Avoid Using Cotton Swabs
It’s common for many to use cotton swabs in removing earwax out of the ear canal. Unfortunately, this is not advisable as this will only push the wax deeper. A wax buildup can block and muffle the sound you hear, and pushing it deeper will only worsen it. Remember that ear wax in your ears is normal, and they play an important role too. Your ears are independent, self-cleaning organs, and the earwax will serve as a filter to stop harmful particles and other dust from entering your ear canal. Without them, dirt and dust can easily work their way into your ears.
Inserting anything sharp inside your ear canals will only damage your ears, especially since your ear canals are very sensitive to anything they touch. Plus, your eardrums are fragile and could easily break if anything goes through them. So, whenever you have excess wax in your ears, you can use a clean, damp towel to wipe them out gently. You can also utilize an ear wax removal solution at least twice a week. This solution will soften the wax and let it flow on its own. But the best way to clean your ears safely is to seek professional help to do it for you.
- Keep Your Ears Dry
Leaving your ears wet for a long time can put them at risk for bacteria and germ penetration. Moisture will allow bacteria to enter and fester on your ear canals easily. This infection is often called swimmer’s ear, or it can also be other types of ear infections. So, whenever you come out from your bath or swim, don’t forget to gently wipe your ears dry with a clean towel.
Another way to ensure that your ears stay dry during swimming or bathing is by using swimmer’s earplugs. These will block any water from entering your ear canal, reducing your risk for ear infection and potential hearing loss.
- Have Regular Hearing Checkups
As mentioned, it’s normal for older people to slowly lose their hearing as they age. Thus, it’s important that you schedule regular ear checkups with your doctor so they can conduct hearing screenings and see if any potential ear infections are coming. This will also help you recognize any symptoms of hearing loss and take action as soon as possible. It’s time you treat your ears as part of your general health.
Hearing loss is a prevalent health issue for aging people, but with the proper precautions and adjustments with your lifestyle, this can be prevented. So, keep these tips in mind and be more mindful of your ears. Remember, they are the means for one of the five essential senses that you need for your everyday life.