You may think that hearing loss is inevitable once you reach a certain age, but in fact, hearing loss affects people of all ages. Luckily, there are healthy habits you can pick up to help prevent hearing loss.
1. Protect your ears from loud noises
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the main causes of hearing loss. At least 20% of the UK population suffer from NIHL but it can be prevented by taking the necessary precautions. If your day-to-day life involves being unavoidably exposed to loud sounds such as power tools, jet engines, music events etc, then you may want to consider using some form of hearing protection. Or, you may even just like to play your music loudly, ride a motorcycle or attend nightclubs regularly – all things which you may not think affect your hearing but can significantly affect the health of your ears.
Specialist ear plugs like the ACS Ear Protection range are ideal for keeping dangerously loud noises to a minimum. Wearing hearing protection would drastically reduce your risk of hearing loss. Once the hair cells within your ears are damaged by exposure to loud noise, they cannot be repaired.
2. Don’t put anything in your ears
Despite warnings from health professionals on the importance of not sticking foreign objects in our ears – we still do it. In fact, a third of the UK adult population still use cotton buds to remove ear wax from their ears. Although it can be seen as a bad habit, it is potentially dangerous for your ear health and results in over 7,000 hospital admissions every year. It can cause side effects such as hearing loss, earache, itchiness, infections, tinnitus and even balance problems.
It’s not just cotton buds that can affect our hearing but also items such as sun creams, moisturisers and soaps, which if carelessly applied, can enter the ear canal. Your ears can be sensitive to all kinds of external sources, and the delicate skin within your ears could have a reaction to anything from a new shampoo to the metal of a new pair of earrings.
3. Keep your ears dry
One of the most common preventable ear infections is swimmer’s ear. From swimming to showering, everyone can be affected by swimmer’s ear, no matter how frequently they are exposed to water in their ears. Water can carry certain bacteria, increasing our chances of getting swimmer’s ear, so one way to avoid this is by looking at getting some custom made ear plugs to wear when you’re swimming. It’s also good to gently towel dry your ears after showering just to be on the safe side.
4. Practice a healthy lifestyle
Leading a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle, believe it or not, can affect the health of your ears. Things such as the foods we eat, the amount of exercise we get, smoking, our mental health and stress are all things that can contribute to your ear health.
Stress is one of the leading causes of tinnitus. Lowering your stress levels has been shown to reduce the awareness of tinnitus symptoms, therefore making it easier to live with.
Regular exercise and incorporating certain healthy foods into your diet such as fish, bananas, broccoli and dark chocolate, can all help to prevent hearing loss. Regular exercise helps to improve the blood flow to your ears, which in turn benefits your hearing.
Good mental health is also beneficial for your ear health because like stress, anxiety can be another key factor that contributes towards the cause of tinnitus and other ear conditions. So treat your mental health as you would your physical, as they go hand-in-hand in contributing to the overall health of your whole body.
5. Have regular hearing tests
Regular hearing tests are important because the earlier an issue is spotted, the better the chance you have of treating the problem and preventing hearing loss in the future. Despite 11 million people in the UK living with hearing loss, it takes an average of ten years for sufferers to address a hearing condition.
The social stigma of people thinking that they are too young for hearing loss just isn’t the case – you are never too young for hearing loss and you should get your hearing checked regularly no matter your age.
If you are having any concerns about your hearing or ear health, or you haven’t had a hearing test in a while, visit one of our expert THCP hearing care team in your local THCP practice or book an appointment online. They will advise you on the health of your ears and the best options of care for a future of healthy hearing.
Book an appointment with an audiologist to check your ear health
You can book an appointment to see one of our experts today and we can give you personal advice on what healthy habits will be beneficial to you. Book online, over the phone on 0800 52 00 546 or come into your local practice.