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PREVENT

Is hearing loss sneaking up on you?

After a lifetime of listening, you might find that your hearing does not seem as sharp as it used to be. Our hearing tends to change gradually over time. I recommend that people come in for a hearing test when they notice a significant change in hearing.

  • In addition to changes in hearing that come with getting older, exposure to loud noise can also impact hearing.
  • The cause of hearing loss can be physical: Wax build-up, fluid or fixation of the middle ear bones. If I find this is the case, I refer people to a doctor for treatment.
  • In some situations, hearing loss is inherited. In this case, hearing loss can happen at any age and the severity varies by individual. You can learn more about these inherited conditions online at entnet.org.
  • Hearing loss can also be due to previous illness or injury, including concussion or other head injury, heart disease, and some viral or bacterial infections.
  • If you suspect hearing loss, contact an audiologist for a complete hearing evaluation. If a significant hearing loss is detected, hearing aids may be prescribed. Hearing aids are not the only choice. It is important to measure what you can and cannot hear with an audiology evaluation. With this information, your audiologist can help to you discover strategies to enjoy normal conversations with friends, family and coworkers.

The best advice? Protect your hearing by wearing ear plugs, especially if you are exposed to loud noise at work or in your free time. For example, if you attend large sporting events or loud music concerts frequently, that noise level can impact your hearing. Be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level when listening to headphones, watching TV and listening to music.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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