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Causes of Hearing Loss and How to Avoid it

There are three major causes of hearing loss in both adults and children; the first is congenital or deformities from birth, the second is from exposure to loud noises and the other one is drug-induced. The most common hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss. Below are the causes of these types of hearing loss and the ways how to avoid them.

1. Noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is caused by too much exposure to loud noise either over a long period of time or to abrupt burst of loud noise. To avoid this, stay away from places and things that produce loud noises. When using headphones or earphones, lower the volume of your device and do not use it for more than an hour.

Make sure that your ears can rest after exposure to loud noises. Remember that if you have totally lost your hearing it is irreversible, so always take extra care of your ears. You can also use ear plugs or ear muffs when you are in place where there are loud noises such as in a bar or if you are in a gun range firing a gun.

2. Drug-induced hearing loss is caused mainly by taking medications that is not properly prescribed to a person, or is sometimes caused by a disease in which the medication’s side effect is hearing loss. These can be treated by doctors that specializes in ears or EENT doctors. If the medications that you are taking produce a ringing sound in your ear or cause temporary hearing loss, it is advisable to consult your doctor right away.

3. Birth defects are one of the causes of hearing loss. This occurs even before birth, when the structures of the ears are still developing. Surgery can sometimes correct the condition but it is recommended that you consult your doctor first before undergoing any kind of surgery. Head injury caused by accidents also causes hearing loss. But this kind of hearing loss is temporary most of the time and your hearing will be back hours or days after the accident. Be sure to get medical attention and tell your doctor about your condition so that he can do the proper treatment for you.

Having known all of these causes of hearing loss, the most effective way of avoiding these is to simply avoiding what caused it in the first place. But if it is inevitable, you must wear ear protection to lessen the damage of loud noises to your ears and ask your doctor about the many ways you can prevent hearing loss.

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How Hearing Aids Work

It is not until recent times that hearing aids are invented to help those who suffered from hearing loss. It is a medical breakthrough that enabled deaf to hear again using some concept of sound amplification. The process of how hearing aids work is fairly simple but before that let us take a closer look on all the things you need to know about hearing aids.

It is true that hearing aids is a great device for those with hearing impairment but it is not that simple. It is not like those devices that if you want you can buy and then use it right away. There are some tests that must be done by a certified audiologist to a person who wants to use hearing aids. Depending on the age of the patient, the audiologist will determine through medical examination on the patient, the adjustments that must be made to the hearing aids. Every person with hearing impairment is not similar to other people who also have it, this only means that careful examination must be performed before finally putting the hearing aid in a patient’s ear.

The shape of the ear canal must also be taken into consideration in fitting hearing aids. The audiologist will then make an ear mold, made from soft materials that is snuggly fitted in the outer ear. It is vital that the ear mold must conform to the shape of the ear canal; this means that it must be replaced as the shape of the outer ear changes, for example, in small children; the molds must be replaced every 2-6 months.

The hearing aid works by identifying the loud and subtle sounds and amplifying it if it needs to be amplified. Analogue hearing aids have a small microphone attach to it that will pick-up sounds and then the mechanism inside the hearing aid will translate it to electrical signals, making it louder if it is too soft, and then feed it to the ear. In this manner, the examination and tests that are conducted to the person before putting the hearing aid to his ear will come in handy.

A digital hearing aid is more advanced than analogue ones. It has a built-in microchip inside it that process thousands, even millions of electrical signals, then convert it to clearer sounds and then feed it in the ears. It can distinguish more sounds and reduces noise that analogue hearing aids may not be able to do. Always remember to consult an audiologist first before using any type of hearing aids so that he can assess the condition of the one that will use it.

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How to Protect Your Ears?

In the United States alone, there are about 32.5 million people that suffered hearing loss. This number is increasing as the years pass. But research shows that 30% of all hearing losses are caused by excessive exposure to loud noises and is very much preventable. So, how exactly do we protect our ears? Here are some ways that will help you protect your ears.

  1. Avoid too much loud noises. Noise is measured by decibels and there are certain decibels of sound that a human can tolerate but too much exposure to it can cause serious and even permanent damage to your ears. Experts say that prolong exposure to noises 85dB or above can cause hearing loss. 85 decibels is comparable to the sound produced by a lawn mower, or when you are in a heavy traffic.
  2. Do not use earphones or headphones over a long period of time in high volumes. Our ears need to rest also just like the rest of our body. Observe the 60/60 rule when using headphones or earphones. It states that the volume of your device must 60%, and every 60 minutes, you need to have a “quiet time” or rest for your ears. It is advisable that you use the smart volume feature of your music player when it is available.
  3. If you cannot avoid exposing yourself from loud noises, you must wear proper ear protection such as ear plugs. Especially if the nature of your work requires you to be exposed to noise 85 decibels and higher for a long period of time, your ears must be well protected.
  4. Rest your ears. When you are in a bar for about 2 hours and your ears are exposed to 100 decibels of sound or higher, then chances are the sensitive bone structures in your ears may be damaged. A study conducted by a renown research organization states that your ears must have at least 16 hours of rest when exposed to 2 hours of 100dB noise level.
  5. Be careful when using cotton bud when cleaning your ears because it can sometimes damaged the inner parts of the ears. Do not push it too much inside the ear; just clean the outer parts of the ear with it.

On a final note, remember that your ears are a very vital part of your body. It must be taken care of just like the other parts of the body.