Millions of people worldwide are already living with hearing loss. At Wesson Hearing Aid Center we love that we get to help make the lives of some of those people a little bit easier. But what can we do to prevent even more people from becoming affected at home and abroad?
Cut Down on Noise
Noise is a major avoidable cause of hearing loss — it is estimated that 1.1 billion people aged 12-35 are at risk of developing hearing loss based simply on noise exposure from concerts, sporting events, and their own musical devices. Regular exposure to loud noises for prolonged periods poses a serious risk of irreversible hearing damage. This is largely preventable by raising awareness of the risks and following safe listening practices.
Spread Awareness About Safe Listening Practices
Sometimes the difference between regular hearing and hearing loss lies in making a few smart decisions! A general rule of thumb is that if you can’t talk to someone six feet away without raising your voice, the noise level around you is potentially damaging. Being aware of this, as taking the appropriate precautions can make all the difference to your hearing future. The following are some important safe listening practices.
- Use Earplugs: The louder the noise and the longer you’re exposed to it, the greater the chance is of it damaging your hearing. Using ear protection and giving yourself frequent breaks from noise, or moving away from it if possible, have a positive effect. Using earplugs at live concerts will still allow you to enjoy the music while protecting your ears.
- Turn Down the Volume: When using headphones, if you can’t hear external sounds or if the person next to you can hear your music, it’s too loud. Follow the 60:60 safe listening rule — listen to your music at 60 percent of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day. Using noise canceling headphones or larger headsets instead of earbuds help to block out other noise and let you listen at lower volumes. Turning down TVs and stereos even a little has a positive effect.
- Be Careful at Work: Occupational noise has now become one of the most compensated occupational risks. Improved awareness and using personal protective devices can easily prevent this.
- Have a Hearing Detox: After being in a loud environment for two hours (such as a club or concert) your ears need 16 hours of recovery time in a quiet environment. Without recovery time, there is an increased risk of permanent hearing loss.
Beware of Medical Hazards
Some medications, especially those used to treat serious infections, cancers, and heart disease, as well as anti-malarials and even alcohol, can be ototoxic, meaning that they can damage the inner ear and lead to irreversible hearing loss.
Increase Awareness Worldwide
The vast majority of people affected by hearing loss live in low-income countries where they may not have any access to hearing care services. Without interventions, hearing loss can pose a significant challenge to their everyday lives. Furthermore, there are significant societal costs associated with unaddressed hearing loss. These include costs in the health field, educational support, and loss of productivity. Intervening by preventing, screening, and providing hearing devices has been proven to be very cost effective and allows those with hearing loss to function on par with the rest of the population. Many causes of hearing loss can be prevented through education and public health measures. Raising awareness and improving access to services can help to reduce the frequency and adverse impacts of hearing loss worldwide.
Increase Child Health
When left untreated, chronic ear infections are a leading cause of hearing loss — something which can be easily managed through medical intervention. Furthermore, over 30 percent of hearing loss in children is caused by preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis. Sixty percent of childhood hearing loss is completely preventable through public health actions. This includes strengthening maternal and child healthcare programs, increasing immunization rates, and implementing infant and school-based hearing screenings. Training healthcare professionals in hearing care, making hearing devices and therapies accessible, regulating environmental noise, and raising awareness about hearing care are all important interventions that would make a difference in the lives of millions.
Spread the Wealth
The current production of hearing aids meets less than 10 percent of the global need for them. In developing countries, less than 3 percent have access to the hearing instruments needed. If you have been personally affected by hearing loss and would like to help out someone in need, consider donating to a hearing loss charity the next time you are looking to contribute!
For more information about preventing hearing loss at home and worldwide, visit us on our website wessonhearing.com or call us at 209-275-1657!