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Say What? Hearing Loss Prevention for Older Adults

on 10/04/2017 1:27 PM

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Have you been to a movie theater lately and enjoyed the surround sound experience? Did you know that the noise level of that movie probably approached 98 decibels, only slightly below a rock concert?

With our nation’s population of older adults increasing, hearing loss has been called a major public health issue. Men tend to develop hearing loss about six years before women, often a result of working in a high-risk environment such as construction, factory, musician, or the military. Some age-related hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process, but studies show that one-third of hearing loss can be prevented. What steps can we take now to protect our hearing and reduce hearing impairment?

Turn it down! 
Our ears are assaulted every day by noise from many sources. Be more intentional about the volume you select on the TV or the car radio. If you use headphones to listen to movies or music, be especially careful to control the volume. When purchasing new appliances, consider the quieter model because every little bit helps towards having a quieter household. 

Protect Your Hearing.
Sometimes pride or vanity keeps us from doing what’s best for our health. Don’t be too proud to use earplugs or earmuffs at high-risk environments such as concerts, movie theaters, or firework shows. Wear hearing protection while woodworking, target shooting, and using or being around power tools and lawn equipment. Even some vehicles like boats and 4-wheelers can be loud enough to damage hearing.

Take a test.
Many of us are good about routine visits to our general practitioner, but neglectfully about regular hearing tests. Make your doctor aware of any changes to your hearing, ringing or buzzing sounds, or increased difficulty understanding words during conversations.  

Leave your ears alone.
Using a cotton swab to remove ear wax can just push the wax deeper into the ear canal resulting in ear infections or inability to hear.

Since a large percentage of hearing loss can be prevented, taking these steps now to protect your hearing can go a long way toward reducing your risk of hearing impairment as you age.   
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