As individuals, we spend both time and money to maintain physical wellness by visiting a dentist, eye doctor and physician regularly – yet many of us overlook the significance of taking good care in protecting our hearing health.
Hearing loss can have serious health and economic ramifications if left unaddressed, yet its prevention is easily possible. Let’s explore more details of hearing care here.
Good news is that hearing loss is mostly preventable. By taking some simple precautions – like keeping ear protection handy – and being vigilant with regard to symptoms like tinnitus, you can lower both permanent damage as well as short-term symptoms like tinnitus.
As part of their health care initiatives to aid prevention, various measures have been put in place. These measures include primordial, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies; primordial prevention focusing on decreasing risk factors leading to disease outbreak is the initial phase.
Regular exercise, diet rich in B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as managing stress are all beneficial to maintaining good ear health. Incorporating earplugs or earmuffs as needed when listening to loud noise is also essential; stash them in your car and workplace so you have them handy whenever loud sounds occur to protect the inner ear from damage and wear them whenever you can to limit exposure to loud sounds that might damage them further. Also make sure that after swimming or bathing make sure you gently dry your ears to remove excess moisture that might accumulate within them.
As part of your initial steps toward hearing health, it’s important to obtain an audiogram hearing test. Your audiologist will ask about your hearing issues and history before playing a series of tones at different pitches and volumes using headphones or earplugs in a sound-treated room or booth – with each tone detected being asked you raise your hand or press a button each time it was detected – red O’s denoting right ears while blue X’s represent left ears on an audiogram chart.
Your provider may use other tests, such as tympanometry and auditory brainstem response testing. Tympanometry can detect issues in the middle ear such as fluid or wax accumulation, perforated eardrum or damage to ossicle bones – which connect the outer eardrum with inner ear sensory cells that detect sound – through auditory brainstem response testing. Auditory brainstem response testing checks how your inner ear connects with your brain – often used for infants or those who can’t complete pure-tone testing.
Hearing aids can assist those suffering from various forms of hearing loss. Their basic components include a microphone that picks up sound, amplifier circuitry that amplifies it and receiver that sends it directly into an ear canal – plus other features like directional microphones, noise reduction or feedback suppression if applicable.
Most hearing care professionals have an in-depth knowledge of multiple manufacturers and will be able to guide you in choosing the product best suited to your hearing needs, lifestyle and budget. Make sure you discuss whether your hearing aid will be covered by insurance, third-party credit programs or charitable organizations when considering its cost.
Once you’ve selected your hearing aid, practice wearing and taking off with an audiologist present. Learn how to clean, store, and replace batteries on it as well. Organize a trial period followed by regular follow up visits with both an audiologist and ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT doctor) so your hearing improves, so they can address any potential problems that might arise with this device. This will also allow you to become comfortable using it while simultaneously being aware of potential issues that could arise with its use.
Bone-anchored Auditory Implants
Bone-anchored hearing implants may be suitable for individuals suffering from conductive and mixed hearing losses or single-sided deafness (SSD). Surgery typically entails attaching a titanium screw behind your ear with an external sound processor attached, which converts sound vibrations into vibrations transmitted directly into your inner ear through your skull.
Ponto sound processors connected to soft bands may offer an alternative hearing solution without surgery, so if you are curious to find out more it would be wise to consult an audiologist or otolaryngologist as soon as possible. BAHA user groups also can be useful resources.
People with private health insurance are eligible to have their BAHA device covered by their insurer with no out-of-pocket expenses; public patients meeting certain criteria can obtain funding through Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital as well. Talk to your Audiologist if funding may apply in your case!