Protecting Your Hearing – How it Happens – Can it be Prevented?

It’s not too late to protect your hearing! Don’t think you could have it forever!

Most of us have gone through it when we were young. We are invincible, we are tough, it’s not going to happen to me. But over a lifetime, from work and leisure activities, whether it is something we willfully engage ourselves in or not, can put us in situations where our hearing can potentially become irreversibly damaged. This may start when we are in the womb, just newborns or, at any given time throughout life.

Sometimes we are able to be in control of this potential source of damage to our body however, we often find that before we know it, the damage has occurred and it is irreversible. For most of us it occurs gradually, over many years. It slowly creeps up on us and when the ringing in the ears becomes annoying or that frequent word “Huh?” drives your loved ones crazy, you may decide to have your hearing checked or, more accurately, someone tells you to have your hearing tested.

The scenario described above is the most typical way hearing becomes impaired from damaging environmental sounds. If you then add factors such as genetics, smoking, disease, age and various medical conditions, prescription medications, over-the-counter preparations to just mention the most common ones, we have a cocktail of possible causes for a typical individual, male as well as female, whose quality of life is in some way impaired.

It is not that we do not know about the dangers of exposure to excessive noise, whether it be music, firearms, tools, machines, prolonged listening to music under earphones, attending events that produce damaging noise and much, much more. It is because we don’t notice the damage until it has occurred.

At the time of typical noise exposure many of us probably believe that it is not going to hurt us. There wasn’t any noticeable effects the last time. There simply are no obvious signs of damage and since we don’t have a yardstick as how to measure any potential damage, we don’t get concerned. We may leave an event with some ringing in our ears and sounds are muffled but after a few hours we seem to be back to normal. Our hearing was temporarily stunted. A few of those very important hairs in our ears were knocked down and now they seem to be back up again, ready to “hear”. We thus are led to believe no damage has occurred. So many other similar things happen to us and we “get over it”. We recuperate. No big deal.

And so it happens as hearing loss gets gradually worse over many years for many people.

Do we on a daily basis know if there has been any damage to our hearing organs? Usually not and that is the problem. We have instruments that may detect damage to those hairs, but in general, since it happens so gradually, it is only if there is a sudden change in hearing, we have pain, sudden ringing, fullness, pressure, drainage from the ears or have associated issues such as dizziness or vertigo we tend to seek help.

We find out there is no cure for damage to our hearing caused by many of the factors mentioned above, particularly from noise. The solution is hearing protection and it’s been around for a long time. The easiest is to avoid the damage in the first place by walking away, covering your ears or, turning the volume down, giving your ears a rest once in a while when listening to music, and use hearing protection correctly and consistently.

The secret is to be educated about the dangers and that hearing damage, once it has occurred, does not return.

Hearing protection is FREE at any ABHC location. Just ask and we’ll advise and supply you for a lifetime.


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