By Sandra Delapenha, AuD, CCC-A
In honor of World Hearing Day, I'd like to highlight the importance of ear and hearing care and encourage everyone to be proactive in addressing their hearing health needs. As an audiologist with the Center for Hearing and Communication, these are topics near and dear to my heart.
It's so easy to take your hearing and ear care for granted. But as one of our five senses, hearing plays an indispensable role in providing us with access to auditory information about the world we live in. So taking care of our ears and hearing is very important—and actually very simple.
Let's consider the basic ways we care for our ears.
Maintain Healthy Ears
Did you know ear wax is not a sign of improper hygiene? Quite the contrary. Ear wax is a natural moisturizer that keeps the skin in our ear canals from becoming dry and keeps dirt and debris from going deep inside the canal.
That said, if you have a build up of wax that causes discomfort or hearing difficulties, it's important to see an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor to check your ears, remove wax, and treat for any infections of the ears.
Never, under any circumstance, should you place Q-tips in the ear. They can cause you to push the wax deeper into your canal causing impaction, discomfort or even a rupture of the eardrum.
Limit Noise Exposure
Exposure to noise is the leading cause of hearing loss. Repeat exposure to noise at a level of more than 85 decibels (dB) can result in permanent hearing problems. The good news: Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. The key is to minimize your exposure to noise and take appropriate action to protect your hearing when you’re in a noisy environment.
Safe Listening - We all use headphones or earphones to enjoy our favorite music, podcasts or games. Make sure you're listening at a safe volume that allows you to enjoy the music without causing harm to your hearing. A good rule of thumb: While you're listening to music through a headset or earphones, you should be able to hear and carry on a conversation with someone just a few feet away.
Custom Hearing Protection - If you love to see your favorite singers or bands in concert, be sure to use custom hearing protection with appropriate noise-reducing filters that protect you from the damaging effects of loud music while still allowing you to enjoy the show. If custom earplugs aren't an option, try over-the-counter ear plugs. They also offer protection and are readily available at your local drugstore.
We all have annual health check ups to see if there are medical issues like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol that require attention. Well, our ears need attention, too. CHC strongly recommends that you make hearing testing a part of your annual health and wellness program.
Increasingly, primary care physicians are discussing hearing health with their patients and even conducting hearing screenings—which is a great development. We encourage you to discuss your hearing health with your PCP and follow up with an audiologist to get a comprehensive annual hearing test. If testing shows a hearing loss, be sure to follow your audiologist's recommendations for treatment.
Connect to Life
Treating hearing loss is vitally important because hearing allows us to actively participate in life and interact with family, friends, coworkers and the world around us.
Research shows that the simple act of using hearing aids to address a hearing loss can significantly reduce the risk of a wide array of serious health issues—including social isolation, depression, falls, cognitive decline and dementia. So when you treat a hearing loss, you have so much to gain!
I hope today, on World Hearing Day, you understand the important role hearing health plays and the steps you can take to address your hearing needs. Thank you to the World Health Organization for establishing World Hearing Day and putting a spotlight on hearing care!
Please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have. To make an appointment at CHC, please use the button below or call us at (917) 305-7766 for the New York office or (954) 601-1930 for the Florida office.
Thank you for letting us be your partner in better hearing.
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