Hearing loss cannot always be prevented. However, hearing loss caused by loud noises is avoidable. In the following section, a hearing aid specialist of Hearing Plus explains some simple things one can do to prevent loud noises from permanently damaging their hearing.
Things to do to prevent hearing loss
Avoid loud noises
The best way to avoid noise-induced hearing problems is to keep away from loud noise as much as possible. Typically, noise is considered to be loud enough to damage one’s hearing if:
• They have to raise their voice to talk to other people
• They cannot hear what people nearby are saying
• It hurts their ears
• They have ringing in their ears or muffled hearing afterward
Any noise over 85dB can be harmful, especially if exposed to it for a long time. One can use smartphone apps that measure noise levels, but one should make sure they’re set up (calibrated) appropriately to get a more accurate reading, says the ear machine specialist.
Be cautious while listening to music
Listening to music at high volume through earphones or headphones is one of the top dangers to hearing. To avoid damaging your hearing, one should:
• Use noise-canceling earphones or headphones
• Not listen to music at more than 60% of the highest volume
• Turn the volume up just enough to hear the music comfortably
• Not use headphones or earphones for more than an hour at a time
Even turning the volume a little bit low can significantly reduce one’s risk of hearing loss. One can protect their hearing during loud activities and events by:
• Moving away from sources of loud noises
• Trying to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes
• Giving their hearing about 18 hours to recover after exposure to lots of loud noise
• Wearing earplugs
Take precautions at work
Suppose one gets exposed to loud noises during their work. In that case, they should speak to their human resources (HR) department or occupational health manager.
The employer can make changes to reduce the exposure to loud noise by:
• Switching to quieter equipment if possible
• Providing hearing protection, such as earplugs
• Making sure one can wear any hearing protection they are given
One should include hearing tests in their annual health check-up. The earlier the hearing problem is diagnosed, the more are the chances of them getting treated. It is recommended for everyone, especially those working in a noisy environment.
Hearing loss affects more than one’s hearing. It also comes with significant mental and emotional effects including changes to one’s self-esteem and how one interacts with others. When people struggle to hear, communication becomes challenging followed by loneliness, sorrow and social isolation. For people struggling with hearing and understanding speech, the idea of being in large groups or noisy situations can become something that brings more anxiety than excitement.
How Hearing Loss Affects Emotional Health
According to the ear machine specialist of Hearing Plus, a hearing aid centre in Kolkata, hearing loss can have a negative impact on one’s emotions. Some of the emotional effects of hearing loss include:
Anger and denial
Losing one’s hearing can bring a drastic change to their everyday life and can be difficult to get used to, causing feelings of anger. It is also expected for people with hearing issues to be in denial about the severity of their hearing problem because it is a shift that is difficult to accept.
Depression and anxiety
Losing one’s hearing can make them feel like they have lost a part of their identity and cause feelings of depression and sadness. Symptoms of depression can include slowed responses, crying, weight changes and disrupted sleeping patterns. Hearing loss can also be anxiety-provoking.
Isolation and social withdrawal
It is common for people with hearing loss to avoid situations where it is difficult to hear to prevent feelings of stress, anxiety and embarrassment. Social withdrawal and isolation can also lead to depression or make the existing symptoms of depression worse.
Losing one’s hearing can make one feel fatigued because straining to hear properly drains more cognitive energy.
Prevention is better than cure. If a person takes early precautions, he or she is less likely to develop hearing loss. One can protect their hearing by taking safety measures, such as:
Avoiding loud noises
Avoiding listening to loud music for long periods
Getting their hearing tested
Hearing loss can be handled and treated. The earlier you address the signs of hearing loss, the more likely you are to avoid irreversible hearing impairment. Contact Hearing Plus, a well-known hearing aid center in Kolkata, if you suffer from hearing loss.
If listening to music or podcast is someone’s favourite form of self-care, it might not be the best for their hearing, says the audiologist of Hearing Plus, a hearing aid centre in Kolkata. The World Health Organisation (WHO) lately shared some alarming news. Due to loud noise exposure, nearly 1.1 billion young people are at risk of potentially life-altering hearing loss.
Headphones and Hearing Loss
Data shows that people under 35 are more likely to listen to music using mobile devices than other age demographics. Of those, WHO suggests 50% blasting out their music at maximum volume through headphones, significantly increasing the chances of damaging the inner ear and causing hearing loss. Studies show they do this at a much higher rate than older individuals.
How Do Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?
The human ear has not evolved to handle loud noises but is built to pick up on gentle sounds. Thus, when one introduces artificially loud sounds through headphones, they can damage their ears.
The ear is a highly complex system. The sound is created as a sensory reaction in the brain following the vibration of tiny hairs within a chamber in the inner ear. Friction between different surfaces results in air movement, which causes these hairs to vibrate in different ways and create different sounds.
According to the audiologist of the ear loss machine centre, loud music elevates the strength of these vibrations. If the vibrations get too intense and remain that way for too long, the hairs become unable to cope with the load and stop functioning properly. Depending on how long a person listens to music and how loud, two things can happen:
If a person exposes their ears to loud noise for a short period, the inner ear hairs can get damaged and lose their sensitivity, but they can recover over time. This is why one can find it hard to hear after leaving a noisy place but eventually, their hearing returns to normal.
If a person exposes their ears to loud noise for an extended period, the hairs can get permanently damaged and lose their ability to vibrate. This is when people experience noise-induced hearing loss, says the audiologist of the ear loss machine centre.
Turn the Volume Down
It is that easy. The noise of 80 decibels can be listened to for over 25 hours straight without risk of hearing damage. On an iPhone, that’s around 60% of the maximum volume. At 60% volume, one can still very clearly hear the music and with good quality headphones, one will vibe along to every beat.
Set Controls on Phones
Most phones have a setting that allows one to set a maximum volume so one doesn’t accidentally exceed a safe limit. This is an excellent method for parents to manage how their child listens to music.
Don’t Turn the Volume Up in Loud Environments
Suppose one is commuting and it gets noisy, or one is on a loud aircraft and the engine whir is messing with their sound. The temptation is to turn the volume up. Instead of raising the decibels and risking hearing damage, it is better to wear noise-cancelling headphones. If you suffer from hearing loss, contact Hearing Plus, a hearing aid centre in Kolkata.
People with hearing issues often come across the term cochlear implant. Most of us don’t know about the process and how it works, and insufficient information can create many misconceptions. Cochlear implant surgery is totally safe and users state that they hear much better after undergoing it. This surgery is highly recommended for people who have severe to
It is a surgery for people who have deafness due to impairment of the inner ear. In this surgery an array of micro electrode is placed inside the cochlea.
Why is a cochlear implant needed?
The sensitive cochlea in the inner ear transforms sound waves into electrical signals, which reach the brain through the auditory nerve. Due to the absence of hair cells or any other damage, the sound waves are not converted to electrical signals. Since a weak signal or no signal reaches the brain, the person cannot hear. A cochlear implant provides the lacking signals to the brain through the auditory nerve.
How does it work?
The cochlear implant microphone picks up the speech signals to digitally process them and convert them to electrical data. The wires transfer the data to the transmitter that is attached externally to the head. The antenna inside the scalp picks up the digital data, which is converted into electrical signals by the receiver and simulator and passed on to the electrodes. The electrodes provide the signal to the auditory nerve, which transfer the speech signal to the brain.
Pros of cochlear implant
Most users have confirmed that they hear better with a cochlear implant. The benefits are:
Cochlear implant users can hear sounds that were not possible for them with a hearing aid. The sound of a doorbell, telephone bell, footsteps etc. are clearly heard
Users can understand speech better and there is less dependence on lip reading
People feel relaxed as there is no stress associated with the effort to lip read and catch the missing words
The user can easily talk on the phone
Infants can hear and learn language naturally with the help of AVT
It’s a blessing for children as they can hear and follow the teacher at the school
Cons of cochlear implant
The disadvantages are far less than the pros. They are:
Though the chances are very low but it can cause infection
A person using a Cochlear Implant cannot go back to using hearing aids
There have been rare cases where the cochlear implant has not functioned. Additional surgery corrects this situation
Tinnitus is a condition that causes the occurrence of ringing or other noises in one or both ears. It can be challenging for some people to determine why they experience tinnitus, as it can occur due to many reasons, such as noise-induced hearing loss, medication or medical conditions. However, if one has recently started to suffer from tinnitus, the problem may have something to do with earwax within their ear canal, says the tinnitus audiologist of Hearing Plus, a well-known hearing aid centre.
Tinnitus and earwax
Earwax is a substance made by glands in the ear, which protects the inside of the ear by acting as a filter, catching debris. The only necessary cleaning method for the earwax is the periodic wipe of the outer ear with a damp cloth. Pushing objects like cotton swabs into the ear can result in severe damage and pain.
Earwax generally does not cause any problem; however, some may experience impaction. Impaction is the build-up of earwax in the ear and the condition is often accompanied by tinnitus. Cleaning tools like cotton swabs and earbuds can push earwax back into the ear canal, causing a blockage. People who produce dry earwax might encounter build-up more frequently.
Symptoms of impaction
According to the audiologist, impaction comes with several symptoms, such as:
Loss of hearing
Congestion of the ear
Treatment for earwax blockage
Earwax removal techniques are not meant to be done at home and should always be performed by a professional.
There are several methods used to remove earwax impactions. These could be harmful if done irresponsibly and only an experienced practitioner should perform the treatment, says the audiologist.
The treatment involves the use of earwax softening drops to soften the earwax. Then a micro-suction method is used to treat earwax blockage. The method consists of using a microscope to magnify the inside of the ear canal. The earwax is then removed utilising a small suction device.
Will tinnitus go away after removing earwax?
If the compacted earwax has caused the tinnitus, then yes, there is a possibility that the problem will be resolved by removing the wax.
If one has earwax build-up and tinnitus occurring around the same time, then there is a higher chance of earwax causing the issue.
Will tinnitus worsen after removing earwax?
A small number of people can find a momentary increase in their tinnitus after the treatment. It happens due to increased sound travelling through the ear canal after removing the blockage. But the increased sensitivity and tinnitus should resolve by themselves relatively quickly.
If you suffer from tinnitus, contact Hearing Plus, the best ear machine centre in Kolkata.