Stop Hearing Loss Before it Starts

We all know we’re likely to experience gradual hearing loss as we age. To a certain degree, minor hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process. We use our ears every day, 24/7, so a little wear-and-tear over time is to be expected. However, hearing loss that greatly affects your quality of life is often preventable. Following these three, simple guidelines can significantly reduce your risk of experiencing serious, permanent damage to your hearing.

1. Get Comfortable with Quiet.

Everyday our ears are inundated with sounds that can cause major hearing loss. You may know that any sound that registers as more than 80 decibels is damaging to your ears, but how do you know when something breaks that barrier? Think of it this way—if you have to raise your voice to speak over the sound, it’s likely hurting your hearing.

So what do you do when the shout test signals a damaging scenario? One option is wearing ear plugs or muffs that can dampen loud sounds and reduce or prevent hearing damage. Many industrial workplaces require such earplugs, and if you’re regularly around loud machinery, music, and other noise-makers, you should consider the same.

Another option is to reduce the amount of noise in your life altogether by intentionally creating more quiet times throughout your day. That could look like a car ride without the radio turned on or an evening without TV.

No matter how you reduce the noise in your life, your ears will thank you for it.

2. Be Aware of Proper Ear Care

Cotton Swabs like Q-Tips can Damage Your Ears

Cotton Swabs can cause severe ear damage. Try rubbing alcohol or other wax-clearing methods instead.

Reducing noise may be the easiest, most obvious way to avoid hearing damage, but other tactics are equally important. One major factor for keeping your hearing in tact is taking extreme care with the methods you use to clean and treat your ears.

Earwax buildup can be uncomfortable and unhealthy, but removing earwax improperly can post even more serious risks to your hearing health.

Believe it or not, cotton swabs are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to ear damage.  Dozens of articles, including one from wbur’s Common Health, explain why cotton swabs are so threatening to your ears and hearing.

  • Cotton swabs are often the exact same size as the ear canal, making it more likely for you to push wax further into your ear rather than actually removing it.
  • The ear drum, and the tiny bones behind it, is extremely fragile and easily punctured by forceful cotton swabs. This can cause permanent hearing loss and serious vertigo.

Instead of using cotton swabs, try irrigation techniques for cleaning your ears. Rather than drying wet ears with cotton swabs, try blowing them dry with a hair dryer turned to a cool setting. Alternatively, using a few drops of rubbing alcohol to dry out your ears is another ear-friendly, effective method.

3. Talk to a Professional 

According to, there are more than 200 medications that can damage your hearing. Kidney Dialysis, Chemotherapy and more common pain killers or antibiotics are known to cause hearing damage over time. Consult with your doctor about the risks before going on any medication or treatment for an extended period.

In addition, be sure to speak with an audiologist if you’re experiencing any symptoms of hearing loss. These include having to turn the volume of your TV or radio up more than usual, frequently misunderstanding words, or missing parts of conversations.

At Elkhart Audiology Rehab, we’re always more than happy to answer your questions or concerns about your own hearing, or that of a friend or family member. Schedule a consultation and we’ll talk to you about your symptoms and goals, have you take a professional-grade hearing test, and walk you through next steps to recovering your hearing. Contact us today or read more about our consultation process.

Read the Research

Dangers of Q-Tips

Hearing Loss in Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis Patients

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