In our previous blog, we discussed tinnitus, the common but extremely uncomfortable phenomenon of ringing, phantom sounds and hearing loss in the ears of those who are affected. Risks for damaging your hearing are all around us -- but you are not powerless to protect your ears and prevent the onset of tinnitus.
At Hearing Unlimited, we urge all of our patients to practice caution and implement preventative measures for all types of hearing loss, including tinnitus. Here are a few ways you can protect your hearing before tinnitus even becomes a problem:
1. Wear Earplugs at Loud Events
The roar of a crowd or the thump of a loudspeaker can be a fun part of an event in the moment, but they aren’t exactly safe for your ears if you’re looking to prevent damage that may cause tinnitus in the future. Even socially distant events can become dangerous to your ears -- while you may be keeping six feet apart from the people next to you, you may still be standing too close to a speaker.
Additionally, some people’s professions involve standing around loud machinery on a day-to-day basis, posing just as much of a risk (if not a greater one!) as a concert, tractor pull, or another high-volume event. If you can’t avoid exposure to high volumes, be sure to wear a pair of earplugs to protect your ears from damage that can eventually cause tinnitus and other hearing loss down the road.
2. Practice Safe Listening
Ear buds are small, convenient, and pretty ubiquitous in modern society. Whether you’re listening to music, taking phone calls or watching videos, your earbuds help you do so privately and portably. However, cranking up the volume while directly funneling sound into your ears can be extremely dangerous for your hearing, and can easily lead to tinnitus if the practice continues to go unchecked. Additionally, exposure to even lower decibels of sound can cause damage if your ears are exposed over a long period of time. This is why it’s so important to take breaks from noise exposure, whether you’re listening to music or working around machinery.
We talk about sound and hearing in terms of decibels -- but what exactly does that mean for you? How can you tell from the volume dial on your phone how loud is too loud? Take a look at these helpful ways you can double check yourself for volume safety on your device.
3. Prevent Ear Infections
Chronic ear infections are uncomfortable and painful in and of themselves; however, they can also cause symptoms of tinnitus over a certain period of time. While ear infections aren’t always preventable, there are a few things you can do to ensure that bacteria aren’t multiplying in your ears. If you wear hearing aids, be sure to keep them as clean as possible. If you wear the aforementioned earplugs, especially disposable ones, replace them with a clean pair frequently. If you are having chronic ear infections as an adult, see a doctor as soon as possible -- this may be an indicator of an underlying condition or structural irregularity in your ear.
4. Visit Your Audiologist
If you fear you may be at risk for developing tinnitus, or you’ve already started to experience mild symptoms, schedule an appointment with your audiologist as soon as you possibly can. Untreated tinnitus can progress into more severe forms of hearing loss, as well as having an impact on your mental health, sleep patterns and ability to concentrate. Your audiologist can also help you develop a tinnitus prevention plan that is tailored to your lifestyle. This is especially helpful to those whose livelihoods put them at risk for tinnitus, such as construction workers and musicians.
Prevention is key to protecting yourself from any form of hearing loss, including tinnitus. However, if you’re already experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, we can help. The audiology specialists at Hearing Unlimited are proud to offer several treatment options for patients living with tinnitus, including hearing aid fittings and regularly scheduled hearing tests.
If your current audiologist has made the difficult decision to close their doors, call Hearing Unlimited. Although we are closed to walk-ins, we are open for normal hours of operation, and we are following strict protocols to keep our environment safe while we continue to serve our patients.
The audiologists at Hearing Unlimited have the expertise to help you maintain your hearing health and prevent injury during this crucial time. Get your healthy hearing plan started today - contact us online or by phone to schedule an appointment, and be sure to take advantage of our services and resources.