As you get older, pay attention to your hearing. We’re all subject to at least some hearing loss throughout our lives, but much of that damage is preventable with proper ENT care. Hearing loss can affect your day-to-day life, as well as your emotional health. In order to keep listening to your favorite tunes and your friends’ voices throughout your life, make an appointment with an audiologist near you for a checkup. Don’t neglect your auditory health, especially if you notice any of these warning signs it’s time to see an audiologist. Treat your ears to some TLC!
You probably know you’re not supposed to stick cotton swabs directly into your ear canal, but sometimes it’s really tempting. Earwax is a weird substance, and it feels awkward and sticky in your ears. If you find wax sticking to your ear buds after you listen to music, clean them off while you dial up Allergy & ENT Associates. Some people’s ears naturally produce more wax than others’ do, which is fine and normal. But if you’re one of those people who gets more earwax, an excess of buildup can have a noticeable effect on your hearing. Before you pick up that cotton swab, think again. ENT doctors, especially audiologists, know how to remove earwax without damaging the structure of your ear. You don’t have to live with that buildup, but call a professional to clear it out instead of trying to do it yourself.
Commonly called “ringing in your ears,” tinnitus is an often-permanent condition that will worsen over time if you don’t treat it now. Some folks only get it for a short time after they’ve been exposed to loud noise. If your ears have taken a real beating lately, whether from rock concerts or jet engines, contact a hearing specialist.
However, for many people who suffer from it, it’s permanent. Prevent any existing damage from getting worse! You may not only hear ringing; there could be buzzing and whirring in there, too. Don’t let those sounds get any louder. An audiologist in Houston can prescribe you a hearing device that provides relief from those annoying sounds.
Sudden Loss of Hearing
Temporary but sudden hearing loss can come from any number of sources, including earwax buildup and traumatic brain injuries. But even if you haven’t been beaned in the head recently, treat any sudden loss of hearing as an emergency and call an audiologist.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) often occurs in only one ear, so you may not be completely deaf during that time. Many people notice that unexplained hearing loss upon waking up in the morning, while others experience it after a loud popping sensation in their ear. Use your good ear and call a hearing specialist near you to seek a proper diagnosis. An audiologist can narrow down what could be causing that sudden deafness. Infections and injuries are common causes, but you could also be dealing with blood circulation problems or an undiagnosed autoimmune disease.
You’re sitting in a quiet room conversing with one or two other people. They’re speaking clearly, but you’re still cupping your ear and saying, “Huh? Can you repeat that?”
You may be hearing the broad strokes of the conversation. The person or people around you are making noises that you can hear, and you may be able to read their tone. But if the actual words are getting lost, get your hearing tested right away. High-pitched voices, like those of children, may get harder to hear as time goes on and your hearing deteriorates. Take care of your ears now so you can converse with your kids as they grow up. Folks with hearing loss often find themselves feeling depressed and isolated because they don’t feel like a part of the conversation. Their loved ones also feel the effects of that loss with an increased difficulty in communication. Your hearing is directly tied to your emotional well-being!
Cranking Up the TV
Exposure to loud noises from music and TV causes a bit of hearing loss in all of us. But if you have that TV on for most of the day and it’s getting harder to hear, turn it off and let your ears rest before calling the doctor. Hearing loss happens slowly. Month by month, you find yourself turning up the volume just a little bit at a time. Constantly turning up the volume, however, will erode your hearing even faster—and if you live with other people, it’ll erode their quality of life. Having the TV on full blast is an easy way to lose your hearing and to damage the hearing of the folks you live with.
When you’re losing your hearing and don’t have a hearing aid or device, you can feel cut off from conversations and left out of all the fun. Going to a party, for instance, can be stressful to somebody who has a hard time sifting through background noise and being a part of multiple conversations. Saying, “Can you repeat that?” over and over again gets tiresome, both to you and to the folks who have to repeat themselves.
Undiagnosed, untreated hearing loss can lead to depression. If you can’t hear your friends talking to you, you may think, “Why bother?” and stop reaching out. A quiet world can be peaceful up to a point—but if you’re sitting in silence all day, you’ll get down in the dumps. Plus, too much self-isolation now can lead to dementia later in life. If you find yourself hanging out at home all the time because of your poor hearing, call an audiologist right away. Keep your hearing in good shape to maintain active friendships, and maintain those friendships to keep your brain in good shape.
Even if you think you’re “too young” to see an audiologist, or if you don’t listen to loud music, get your hearing checked once a year anyway. Allergy & ENT Associates is home to some of the best audiologists in Houston, and we’re all dedicated to keeping your hearing healthy. Hearing health contributes to your overall well-being, and if damaged ears are left untreated, they can do damage to the rest of your health. Look out for these warning signs it’s time to see an audiologist, and give us a call if any of these scenarios sound familiar.