The science of hearing loss: How to prevent it in 5 simple steps

Published 11 April 2022  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 3 mins read

Hearing loss affects 12 million people in the UK. The risk gets higher as we get older, but it can affect anyone at any age.

But there’s plenty you can do to look after your ears and help protect your hearing – here are our 5 quick tips.

1. Turn the volume down

One of the leading causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. It can be irreparable – once the hair cells within your ears are damaged by excessively high volume, they cannot be repaired. If you want to protect your ears, it’s important to turn it down and limit the time your exposed to these loud sounds, giving yourself regular breaks.

As a rule of thumb, try to keep the volume level no higher than 60% of maximum. In a perfect world, we’d all be wearing noise-reducing earplugs. If you have a job that exposes you to regular loud noise, you are a frequent flyer or you enjoy going to music festivals and gigs, it’s important to invest in some ear protection.

Turn down the sound

2. Stop using cotton buds

By now, you should know that putting cotton buds (or anything else small and pointy) into your ears is harmful. It can cause itchiness, infections, earache, tinnitus, balance problems and hearing loss. You are also at risk of damaging the ear canal, compacting wax, or even worse, potentially perforating the ear drum.

Our ears do a fine job of cleaning themselves of debris, but if you feel like you need to remove any excess wax, it’s important to get it done by a professional. You can take a look at our safe ear wax removal services here.

3. Get healthy

We all know the importance of a healthy, rounded diet for staying healthy. And that includes healthy hearing. Healthy foods that can lower the risk of hearing loss include dark chocolate, bananas, fish, garlic and whole grains.

Other lifestyle changes that can benefit your ears include quitting smoking, getting plenty of exercise and setting aside some time to yourself to help combat stress.

A collection of healthy food

4. Keep your ears dry

A little water in your ears every now and again isn’t the end of the world. But if you’re a regular swimmer, for example, you might need to be a bit more careful. Water can carry infection-causing bacteria which can be both painful and damaging to your hearing. Swimmers should look at getting custom-made swimming earplugs for extra protection and make sure to gently towel dry your ears after you get out of the pool.

5. Get regular hearing tests

The sooner you spot a problem, the sooner it can be sorted. But this can’t be done if you’re not getting regular check-ups. In fact, on average it takes 7 years for sufferers to address a hearing condition – in which time their hearing may have deteriorated significantly.

Book an appointment today

Whether you’d like a free hearing test, a new set of latest hearing aids, advice on specialist hearing protection or simply more information on hearing health, our fully-qualified Audiologists are here to help with care that’s perfectly tailored to you.

You can book an appointment online, or call our Dedicated Patient Support team on 0800 52 00 546.