Prevent Hearing Loss and Tinnitus with Hearing Protection
Protecting your ears is essential to your hearing ability and overall auditory health. Once your ears have been damaged, they may not ever heal and be the same again. Everyone should take care of their hearing, but some people, in particular, might want to pay extra attention to how to prevent damage to their ears. Anyone who is regularly exposed to loud noises, whether they work on construction sites or at an airport or regularly attend or perform at loud events, should make sure that their hearing is protected as much as possible.
Damage to your ears could result in hearing loss, which is usually permanent. You only have one set of ears, so looking after them is important. Tinnitus is one of the problems that can be caused by damage to your ears and is strongly linked to hearing loss. It is characterized by ringing, whistling or other noises in the ear. Sometimes you might hear ringing in your ears for a short period after being exposed to loud noise; for example, after going to a loud music show. However, continued exposure to loud noises and sometimes even one incident can cause permanent damage to your ears and lead to tinnitus.
The link between tinnitus and hearing protection
Tinnitus is often linked to the loss of hearing. While scientists and doctors aren't completely sure what causes tinnitus, one theory is that it is caused by the brain asking the ears to provide information that it doesn't have. The tinnitus noise might be a result of your brain filling in the blanks, but it could also be more complicated than that. Researchers are continuing to try to understand just what tinnitus actually is. However, what we do know is that people who have tinnitus also often have hearing loss. We also know that failing to protect your ears from loud or prolonged noises can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. That's why it's so essential to protect your hearing.
Some of the people who might need to be most careful about protecting their ears include:
- Construction workers
- Musicians or frequent concert and festival attendees
- Motorcycle riders
- Airport workers
- Industrial and factory workers
However, we should all take steps to care for our ears and look after our hearing. Even if you don't regularly spend time in environments with lots of noise, it's still important to take precautions.
How to protect your hearing
There are many ways to protect your hearing and it's easier than you might think. Everyone can start by protecting their hearing in small ways, such as turning the volume down when watching TV or listening to music. It's especially important to do this if you're wearing headphones. On some devices, you can set it to give you a warning if you're about to go about the safe limit, which helps to prevent you absentmindedly turning up the volume too loud. Another thing that anyone can do is to protect their hearing when attending events that might involve loud noises, ranging from fireworks to loud music. This is especially important for babies and children. Earplugs or over-ear protectors are useful for these events.
People who are regularly around high levels of noise might prefer more customizable solutions. These include things like custom earmolds. Earmolds are used for some types of hearing aid, but they can also be used on their own to provide hearing protection. They can be soft or solid in different styles and they can completely block sound or allow for speech to be heard. Another customizable solution is custom earplugs, which can be made to fit your ears perfectly. Many off-the-shelf earplugs aren't ideal because they're not made to fit your ears. Musicians can also benefit from specialized solutions, such as musician earplugs and in-ear musician monitors.
The symptoms of tinnitus
Tinnitus symptoms can include a range of noises in the ear. You might hear humming, buzzing, whistling, ringing, hissing or clicking. These sounds can come and go or be there all the time or they just might be more noticeable in some environments. There are two types of tinnitus: subjective and objective tinnitus. If you have subjective tinnitus, only you can hear it. If you have objective tinnitus, your doctor can hear it during an examination – however, this is much less common.
Prevent tinnitus with hearing protection
Protecting your ears keeps your hearing healthy and helps to prevent tinnitus. Use the right hearing protection to look after your ears and reduce your likelihood of developing tinnitus.
Get in touch with Audiology Associates at either of our offices by calling (573) 332-7000 or using the form on our contact page to find out more about tinnitus and how to protect your ears. Take a look at our hearing protection products to see what solutions are available.