October is National Protect Your Hearing Month. When someone experiences a sound for too long or too strong, it can permanently damage their hearing. The louder the noise that is experienced, the more quickly the damage can be done so being prepared for noisy environments or avoiding them altogether is important for protecting hearing, especially if your loved one already has some hearing loss due to damage done in his youth.
How Hearing Becomes Damaged
Hearing gets damaged because when the hearing canal is exposed to loud noises, the tiny groups of hair-like structures that sit on top of hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. Once they become damaged, they lose their ability to respond to sound, creating hearing loss in the individual.
While you can’t travel back in time and have your loved one bring his earplugs to those heavy metal concerts he attended in his youth, there are steps you and his elder care provider can take to help your loved one reduce the risk of creating more hearing damage.
Lower the Volume
This is especially true if your loved one uses headphones or earbuds to enjoy music or listen to podcasts. While they are great devices for blocking out other sounds, they place the sounds directly into the ear, making even moderate volume likely to create hearing damage if used for a long time. Remind your loved one to keep the volume at the very lowest he can keep it and still hear.
Two ways to check volume: 1) You or his elder care provider should NOT be able to hear what he is listening to, and 2) he should still be able to hear some outside noises when using his headphones or earbuds.
Avoid Loud Places
If possible, your loved one should avoid areas where the noise will be too loud, such as enclosed concert areas. When unavoidable, he should actively seek areas where the noise is the least, such as staying away from speakers or any other noise-generating objects.
Wear Noise Cancelling Earplugs or Headsets
Another option is if your loved one is going somewhere where he knows that there will be a loud noise (such as a funeral for a friend with a gun salute), he might consider bringing a noise-canceling headset to muffle the noise or wearing earplugs. Of course, wearing these items all the time will prevent conversations and hearing the other ambient sounds around him, so they often work best for areas where your loved one doesn’t want to conversation but still experience the event.
Keep the Ears Clean
Keeping the ears clear of wax and dirt buildup will protect his hearing but it needs to be done properly. If wax buildup is a concern, have your elder care provider bring your loved one to his doctor for a check-up and cleaning. Trying to clear it out on his own with swabs may push it deeper and make it worse.
Life is full of wonderful sounds. Help your loved one be able to continue to experience and enjoy all of them.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care in La Jolla, CA, please contact the caring staff at Aaron Home Care. (619) 880-5522
A Trusted Home Care Agency Serving La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, San Diego, UTC, La Mesa, Chula Vista, Coronado, Bonita, Eastlake and the surrounding areas.
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