What Can You Do Now To Prevent Hearing Loss Later?

Hearing loss is very common, affecting nearly one in six American adults, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One in eight Americans over the age of 11 has hearing loss in both of their ears. While some people are born that way, the majority of hearing loss develops later in life. Half of Americans over the age of 75 have disabling hearing loss, whereas detectable hearing loss is present in only 0.2% of newborns.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), people with hearing loss should focus on gestures and facial expressions, let other people know about their hearing loss, and ask people to repeat themselves using different words if necessary. It would also be a good idea to find quiet spaces to talk with others. Most importantly, consult your doctor, who may recommend a hearing aid. The NIH notes that most adults who would benefit from hearing aids never take advantage of the opportunity. The NIA recommends asking for a trial period to see if a hearing aid is suitable for you.

With that being said, people who have not yet experienced hearing loss may be interested in learning how to prevent it. The good news is that although hearing loss is common, that doesn't mean it is inevitable.

This is how to prevent hearing loss later in life

Not all hearing loss is preventable, but you can do your best to reduce your risk as much as you can. This is especially important because hearing loss can contribute to depression, and it can also reduce safety at home and at work, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

One of the most effective methods to reduce your risk of hearing loss is to avoid loud noise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noise is too loud if you and others have to shout in order to hear each other, or if you cannot hear one another at an arm's length away. The CDC recommends turning down the volume, taking breaks, and walking away from the noise, avoiding loud places and activities, and using well-fitting hearing protection such as earmuffs to reduce the amount of noise entering your ear. In addition, purchase quieter tools and toys whenever possible, and maintain your equipment properly.

It would be a good idea to stay away from earbuds, especially if you plan on using them at a high volume. According to Michigan Medicine audiologist Bruce Edwards, earbuds' proximity to the ear drums increases the risk of hearing damage (via University of Michigan). If the volume is especially loud, using earbuds may even cause a rupture in your ear drums, potentially resulting in complete hearing loss (per Whittier Hospital Medical Center).