WHAT ARE MY HEARING LOSS RISK FACTORS?

What are the risk factors for developing hearing loss? 

A risk factor is something that increases your odds of developing an ailment, issue or illness.

There are a few risk factors that commonly contribute to hearing loss, but there are other less common ones as well. The more of these risk factors you have the better your chances of developing hearing loss. Decreasing the risk factors will also decrease the likelihood you will suffer from hearing loss. 

Hearing Loss Risk Factors

Low Birth Weight

Premature birth and low birth weight are risk factors for hearing damage. Additionally, complications at birth like asphyxia and jaundice may increase the risk of hearing loss later in life. 

Genetic Conditions

Usher Syndrome, Otosclerosis and other genetic abnormalities can increase the risk for hearing loss. Also, conditions that change the structure or shape of the head and face are also risk factors.

Getting Older

Living our lives always results in some weathering of our whole bodies, including our ears. Age-related hearing damage (presbycusis) can be hereditary and progresses gradually. 

Noise 

Exposure to loud noise is the most common risk factor for hearing loss. It may be from a longer, repeated exposure over time (such as in a factory) or a short burst of very loud noise (like a gunshot). To prevent noise-related hearing loss, remember to bring ear protection like earplugs to lessen any injury. If you know you will repeatedly be exposed to loud noise, consider investing in custom ear plugs. 

Ototoxicity

Some medications, including NSAID drugs, certain types of antibiotics and chemotherapy can damage hearing temporarily or permanently. For example, high doses of aspirin can cause ringing in the ears or even temporary hearing damage in some people. When these medications are stopped the symptoms most often wane. Chemicals in agricultural or factory settings may also be ototoxic (causing hearing damage). Ototoxic chemicals can also be found in cigarettes. 

Diseases and Illnesses

Health issues like Meniere’s disease can affect inner ear fluid and lead to hearing damage. Tumors, vascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders may similarly affect hearing health. Injury to the head or other trauma can also cause hearing loss. 

Medical Treatments

Aside from antibiotic medications and chemotherapy, radiation therapy can weaken hearing health, specifically when the radiation is focused in proximity to ears. 

The likelihood for hearing loss can increase with exposure to any of these influences, but it does not guarantee it. This is not an all-inclusive list, and if you try to decrease the known risk factors of hearing damage, you will be considerably less likely to develop hearing loss. 

Here at California Hearing Center we are committed to your hearing health. Call us today to set up an appointment for a hearing screening. We can discuss hearing aid options with you and work with you to find one that fits your budget. 

HEARING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2019

With a new year comes a time to reflect on our old patterns and how to update our habits and improve ourselves. Do you typically make New Year’s Resolutions, and what is your track record at sticking to them?

Personally, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I educate myself throughout the year and when I see changes that need to be made, I don’t wait for a new year to make them. Even so, I have been reflective on my habits and patterns this new year, thinking about things that I might like to change.

We all value our hearing. From conversing with friends and family to watching TV or listening to music, we use hearing almost continuously. Hearing health is something we take for granted, but when we begin to experience hearing loss we realize what a gift our hearing health has always been.

Fortunately, there are ways we can protect our hearing. Here are a few easy things you can do right now to ensure your hearing health lasts as long as possible.

1.    Yearly hearing screenings are key. One of the easiest things you can do to protect your hearing is to get annual hearing evaluations at your audiologist. Since hearing damage is irreversible, it’s important to catch it early: even before you notice it. Hearing screenings are quick, easy, and often covered by insurance.

2.    Wear protective gear. Since the most common type of hearing damage is noise-induced hearing loss, it is important to protect your ears whenever you are in a noisy environment. Whether you are at work in a factory, at a firework show, or at a concert, be sure to protect your ears from loud noises. It’s a good idea to always carry earplugs. You never know when you will be in a noisy environment, so it’s good to be prepared.

3.    Keep the volume low. When we listen to music or watch TV on mobile devices using ear buds, it’s easy to have the volume at a level above 80 decibels, which is the threshold for hearing damage. It’s best to keep the volume at less than 60% of the maximum, and if you can use over-the-ear earphones with noise-canceling technology, that can prevent you from needing to turn the volume up as loud to hear your device.  

4.    Get custom-made. If you listen to a lot of music or if music is your business, it’s a good idea to get custom-made earplugs or earphone molds. They are relatively inexpensive and a great way to protect your hearing from noise-induced hearing loss. They are customized to fit your ear canal exactly. Not only do they deliver superior sound, they allow for better quality listening, so you can listen at a lower volume and prevent hearing damage.

The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.