1. Don’t stick anything in your ears, smaller than your elbows (other than your hearing aids of course!) – You’ve probably heard of this one before. The reason being that sticking objects, such as cotton buds into your ears can damage your eardrum. You do not want to burst your eardrum! This can cause hearing loss and irreversible damage to your ears.
2. Keep loud noise levels to a minimum – loud noises such as very loud music, power tools or machinery can cause irreversible damage to the ears over time, resulting in hearing loss. It is important that you make sure you don’t overdo your sound exposure. Try to keep the volume slider at less than 60% and use noise cancellation headphones when there’s background noise present – this will lessen the need to increase the volume of the music to overcome the background noise.
3. Use hearing protection as much as you can if you are exposed to loud noise – whether using power tools or you’re around very loud machinery, use earmuffs or earplugs to ensure you’re preserving your hearing as much as possible. Noise exposure is cumulative – this means that once you expose your ears to very loud sounds, there’s no undoing the damage caused to the ears.
4. Seek medical advice immediately if you experience a sudden hearing loss – losing your hearing suddenly may be due to a condition called a Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. This condition needs to be treated as soon as possible (ideally within 24-48hours) to be reversed. If it is not treated promptly, the chance of this hearing loss becoming permanent increases significantly!
5. Don’t smoke, maintain good cardiovascular health and maintain a healthy diet – Smoking and poor cardiovascular health have been linked to increased risk of developing a hearing loss, therefore it is important that you quit smoking and talk to your GP about maintaining your cardiovascular health. A poor diet can lead to type 2 diabetes, which has been shown to increase your risk of developing hearing loss. Eating a well-balanced diet to prevent type 2 diabetes has never sounded so important!
6. Get regular hearing checks by your hearing professional, especially if you’re over 50 years of age – yearly hearing checks are strongly recommended to make sure your hearing isn’t declining and ensuring your hearing and ear health are of the utmost quality. After 50 years of age, your risk of developing a hearing loss becomes greater.
7. Use swim plugs if you swim regularly, especially in cold water – the use of earplugs can help prevent ear infections related to swimming (Swimmer’s Ear) as they limit the amount of bacteria entering your ear canal from the water. If you’re a frequent swimmer in cold water, using earplugs can help prevent benign bony growth formation called Exostoses, which develop in response to being exposed to cold water. If these growths continue to grow, they can block your ear canal and will require surgery.