Preserving your hearing goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a high-quality life. Our ears play a vital role in how we interact with the world around us. From engaging in daily conversations to enjoying the sounds of nature, hearing helps enrich our lives and connects us to our surroundings. If you are looking for practical tips and strategies to help safeguard your auditory health and prevent further hearing loss, this guide is for you.   

Tips to Safeguard Against Further Hearing Loss 

Concerns about hearing loss can arise for various reasons like unsafe noise exposure, underlying health conditions, or gradual decline associated with aging. While some causes of hearing loss are beyond our control, many instances of damage are preventable with the right knowledge and proactive measures. Below we provide simple lifestyle adjustments and intentional daily habits that you can use to protect your auditory wellness for years to come. 

Understand Your Current Hearing Health 

An older adult women in a hearing clinic happily undergoing her yearly hearing exam as recommended by her hearing care specialist.

To prevent further hearing loss, it is essential to first understand your current auditory health with a comprehensive hearing exam. Through a series of easy, non-invasive tests, your hearing care specialist will be able to establish a baseline of your current auditory health.  

This baseline exam will be used as a benchmark to monitor any changes in your hearing that may occur over time. This allows your specialist to detect issues early on and can help uncover any risk factors in your life that you may not be aware of yet. 

Protect Your Ears from Loud Noises 

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a form of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) that occurs when loud noises damage the hair cells in your inner ear. It is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises or sudden, loud bursts of sound. 

According to CDC estimates, 26 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 20-69 have permanent noise-induced hearing loss. In many scenarios, NIHL can be prevented by taking the proper steps to protect your hearing from damage, including: 

  • Limit duration: The longer you are exposed to a loud noise, the higher the risk of damage becomes. Taking frequent listening breaks, either in noisy environments or while listening to personal audio devices is key to giving your ears time to recover.  
  • Turn down the volume: This applies to headphones, TVs, and any personal device capable of producing potentially harmful sound levels.   
  • Use headphones responsibly: Practicing the 60/60 headphone rule can help protect your ears from damage. This means when listening to audio through headphones, never exceed 60% of the maximum volume level and take a listening break every 60 minutes.  
  • Increase distance: In loud environments, move further from the sound source to reduce the decibel levels reaching your ears. In small spaces, add a barrier to increase the distance between yourself and the source of the loud sounds.  
  • Wear ear protection properly: Wear properly fitted hearing protection like earplugs, earmuffs, or custom molded earplugs are essential for activities with high noise levels. 

Practice Good Ear Hygiene 

Our ears are self-cleaning organs. Earwax, or cerumen, helps trap dust and debris to prevent them from reaching the inner ear. In most cases, earwax naturally works its way out of the ear canal, but sometimes it can accumulate excessively, which can lead to impaction. This can affect your hearing by blocking sounds from entering your ear and put you at an increased risk of other health concerns such as ear infections.

To safely manage earwax at home, some pharmacies sell over-the-counter eardrops that help soften earwax buildup, making it easier for the wax to naturally exit the ear canal. It’s also important to avoid inserting any objects into your ear canal, even cotton swabs, as this can push the earwax deeper and lead to further impaction or even damage.

Beyond managing earwax, good ear hygiene also includes keeping your ears dry as much as possible. After showering or swimming, you can use a towel to gently dry your ears and prevent water buildup, which helps mitigate the risk of ear infections. 

Having a healthcare provider clean your ears is recommended at least once a year. If you suspect earwax impaction, or if you’re experiencing symptoms like hearing loss, earache, or a sensation of fullness in the ear, it’s important to seek professional care immediately. 

Prioritize Overall Wellness

Smiling senior couple jogging in the park, symbolizing the importance of prioritizing your overall wellness to ensure optimal hearing health

Prioritizing your overall wellness through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management also supports your hearing health. Exercise improves blood circulation, including to the inner ear, which is vital for proper hearing function. A balanced diet rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help provide your body with the building blocks for maintaining good hearing health. 

Stress management is also a key part of supporting your auditory health. In fact, research suggests that there is a direct connection between stress and certain auditory conditions. It’s important to adopt strategies for reducing stress in your life, such as dedicating time to hobbies, taking walks, or utilizing whatever methods work best for you.   

Listen to Your Loved Ones 

Sometimes, those closest to us are the first to notice a change in our hearing health. If someone close to you expresses concerns about your hearing, take their observations seriously. Their insights can provide valuable clues about potential changes in your auditory health that you might not have noticed yourself yet.  

Ignoring these signs increases the risk of further hearing loss and impacts social interactions, emotional wellness, and overall quality of life. By prioritizing open communication with loved ones and seeking professional care, you can navigate potential hearing challenges proactively. 

Wear Your Hearing Aids Every Day

Top view of hearing health care specialists putting modern BTE hearing aid in patient hand for treatment hearing loss at hearing clinic.

Using hearing aids consistently can help you manage your existing hearing loss effectively and preserve your brain’s ability to understand speech. Without stimulation, our auditory pathways can weaken over time, especially as we get older. Daily hearing aid use stimulates the auditory system and keeps our ears active and engaged. 

Get Regular Hearing Check-Ups 

Regular hearing check-ups are key for detecting and managing changes in your auditory health early on. These check-ups can identify potential issues before they escalate and ensure your current hearing loss treatment efforts are effectively meeting your needs. 

For adults, a hearing exam is recommended every 3-5 years. People over the age of 60, anyone with existing hearing loss, or people at high risk for developing hearing loss should get a hearing exam at least once a year. This will ensure any changes that may occur over time are properly monitored and attended to promptly. 

Safeguard Your Auditory Health with a Hearing Exam at The Hearing Center in Golden Valley 

Taking charge of your hearing health is an ongoing process. By adopting these tips and seeking professional advice, you can safeguard your auditory health and maintain a lifetime of enriched listening experiences. At The Hearing Center, we provide comprehensive hearing services and personalized guidance to help you achieve your hearing health goals.  

Don’t wait until it’s too late; schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist at The Hearing Center today.