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Is Your Hearing at Risk? How to Protect Your Ears

Hi, I'm Denise Kopecki with Texan Renew Hearing Center. Today we're going to be talking about is your hearing at risk and what are some tips you can do to protect your hearing.

So, a lot of times people will ask if hearing loss is preventable. Since there are several different types of hearing loss, but one of the more common ones is noise induced hearing loss, we're going to talk about how you can actually protect your hearing before you lose it.

The obvious way is wearing hearing protection when you're going to be around noisy things. A lot of people don't realize that doing things as simple as mowing your yard, weed eating, and working in the garage with different power tool are at levels of sound that are actually dangerous enough that being exposed to them for 5-15 minutes could cause permanent hearing damage. Any time we're going to be doing something loud we're going to want to put in either ear plugs or ear muffs to cover our ears to protect them from being damaged.

Another tip that you can do, whenever we're using our headphones, earbuds, or the ever so popular airpods, is to turn the volume down. It doesn't need to be at full blast. Keeping it at halfway or three-fourths of the way is ideal to protect our hearing health. Even watching television or listening to the radio without wearing headphones should not have the volume more than halfway. Every different TV and radio has different regulators of a score system and you don't want to be more than half way up on the TV setting. 

This may sound crazy and you've heard it before, but stop using cotton swabs or q-tips. Q-tips and cotton swabs are actually made for cleaning the outer part of the ear where you have all of the creases around it. It shouldn't be something that we're poking in our ears all the way. That can impact wax to where it can push it up to the eardrum and cause physical damage. In more severe cases you can actually push a cotton swab through your eardrum. That for sure is going to cause permanent hearing damage. 

Another thing that people don't realize that they can do to help when preventing their hearing loss is taking your medication as directed. Ototoxicity is something that is being found more and more for being a cause of hearing loss. There are certain medications that can cause both ringing in the ears and permanent hearing loss. Especially if we are abusing those medications and taking more than what the suggested dose should be. If you ever have any side effects when starting a new medication talk to your medical provider as well as your pharmacists. They can know if there are interactions that can happen between two or more medications to cause ringing in your ears or permanent hearing loss.

Another thing you can do to protect your ears and your hearing is keeping your ears dry. Things like swimmer's ear or having a lot of sweat and moisture in your ears can cause fungal infections. Any type of infection can lead to permanent hearing loss. So, you'll want to keep your ears dry after swimming or doing any activities that require a lot of water around your ears. 

Something that can help protect your ears is to get up and move. Keeping our blood flowing and the cardiovascular system healthy, it's actually helping the nerves in our ears. The more active we are and the longer we're active, it will keep the nerves in your ears stimulated for as long as possible. 

Also, we want to manage our stress levels. The more stressed you are, the more it can tense up all of the systems in your body including your ears. When you're doing things that are lowering your stress, you're simultaneously helping your hearing health last for years. 

The last thing we can do to protect our hearing is to get regular check ups. Some people think, well there's nothing wrong with me so I don't need to go to the doctor. It's recommended to get annual check ups for your physical, eyes, ears, and teeth checked. We don't want to neglect any parts of the body that make you, you. Sometimes we can miss little warning signs that have been there for a while. 

Again, I'm Denise Kopecki with Texan Renew Hearing Center and these are some healthy tips for how to protect your hearing.