How to Preserve and Protect Your Hearing As You Grow Older

If you have ever attended a large rock concert, you know how it affects your hearing. You probably enjoyed the music, but it takes a while to recover your normal hearing. That should be your first clue. High volume is detrimental to your hearing. If you are around loud music, machinery, or excessive environmental noises for any length of time, you are doing damage to your hearing no matter your age. Let’s consider how to preserve and protect your hearing as you grow older.

What Is Gradual Hearing Loss?woman struggling to hear the tv.

We regret to inform you that you lose hearing as you get older. In addition, your eyesight, your taut trim body, and other unfortunate changes occur with age. You can’t stop Father Time.

In fact, one third of those over the age of 65 have hearing loss. It happens gradually so it might not be that noticeable. This gradual hearing loss due to age is known as presbycusis, and it usually affects both ears.

In addition, 10% of Americans age 18 and over have some hearing loss, and one-half over age 75 have difficulty hearing.

What Causes Presbycusis?

Changes in our inner ear, changes in middle ear, plus more changes down the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain can impact hearing. Extended periods of exposure to loud noises and certain medical conditions can have an impact. High blood pressure, diabetes, and chemo drugs are connected to hearing loss.

Safeguarding Your Hearing

You can’t prevent it, but protecting yourself from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is crucial, regardless of your age. Exposure to loud noises can significantly impact your hearing health. These damaging noises can come from various sources such as loud music, headphones used at high volumes, construction sites, fireworks, guns, power tools, and motorcycles.

As you age, it becomes even more important to safeguard your hearing. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Avoid Loud Sounds: Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid environments where loud noises are prevalent, or take breaks if you find yourself in such situations.
  • Reduce Exposure: Limit the amount of time you spend in environments with loud sounds. This could involve reducing the duration of activities like concerts, using power tools, or attending sporting events.
  • Use Protective Gear: Wear earplugs or protective earmuffs when you anticipate exposure to loud noises. This is particularly important when engaging in activities such as mowing the lawn, attending concerts, or operating machinery.

By taking these proactive measures, you can help preserve your hearing and enjoy a better quality of life as you age.

Safe Listening Tips

With the explosion of personal listening devices, there are some additional ways to reduce your risk of developing NIHL or even age related hearing loss. 

  • Never listen at 100% volume
  • Follow the 60:60 rule. Listen at 60% maximum volume for no longer than 60 minutes per day.
  • Use the “smart volume” feature if your device has one to regulate the volume automatically.
  • Keep the volume low even in noisy environments.
  • Take periodic breaks for 15 minutes.

Do What You Can

Lastly, engage in certain activities to reduce your age related hearing loss.

Buy new appliances that have low noise ratings. Take ear plugs to the movies in case it is too loud. Did you know smoking can negatively affect your hearing? Use at home irrigation kits to remove earwax, not Q tips. 

By taking these proactive measures, you can help preserve your hearing and enjoy a better quality of life as you age.

If you suspect you are having hearing issues, make an appointment with Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat. Call (912) 355-2335 to schedule an appointment in Savannah or Pooler, GA.