There’s no official “cure” for hearing loss. That’s what makes it that much more important to practice prevention in daily life. We know it can be hard to turn down your favourite song or to remember to wear earplugs while doing yard work, but it’s worth it.
Should you get your hearing tested?
Getting your hearing tested regularly means peace of mind and early detection of anything unusual. If you don’t get regular hearing tests, we’d recommend making an appointment with one of our audiologists if you or a loved one:
- Are over the age of 65
- Have trouble hearing in noisy situations
- Have trouble hearing on the telephone
- Find yourself thinking that people are mumbling
- Ask others to repeat themselves often
- Are worried your speech and language abilities may be worsening
- Need to turn the TV or radio volume up more than you used to
- Hear ringing, buzzing or other sounds in your ears (also known as tinnitus)
If you’ve already been diagnosed with hearing loss, it’s a good idea to have it tested every two years or sooner if you notice changes. We also recommend having your hearing tested if you have frequent ear infections, a family history of hearing loss, a history of noise exposure (at work or at home), or a syndrome/disorder associated with hearing loss.
Recognizing sudden hearing loss
Sometimes the quality of your hearing can change quickly. This can mean something more serious is happening. Be aware of the common signs of sudden hearing loss:
- A sudden change in hearing (usually in one ear)
- A sensation of fullness in the ear
- Ringing, buzzing or other sounds in the ear
- Dizziness or loss of balance
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend making an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible.
Hearing loss & medication
Certain medications (known as ototoxic medications) are known to cause hearing loss by damaging the inner ear and balance system. While some medication-caused hearing loss is temporary, knowing which ones can cause more permanent symptoms is important. If you’re taking one of the following medications, limit your exposure to loud noise, which can make the symptoms worse.
Medications that may cause hearing loss include:
- Aminoglycoside antibiotics (Amikacin, Gentamicin, etc.)
- Chemotherapy drugs (Cisplatin, Carboplatin, etc.)
- Quinine (Quinine, Chloroquine, etc.)
- Loop diuretics (Furosemide, Bumetanide, etc.)
- Salicylates, especially in large quantities (Acetylsalicylic Acid, Aspirin, etc.)
If you are not sure, ask your doctor or pharmacist
Noise exposure reduction
The easiest thing you can do to help protect your hearing is to limit the amount of loud sounds you’re exposed to. A good place to start is understanding how to identify when a noise is too loud. You’ll know that a sound could cause hearing damage if:
- You have to raise your voice to be heard over the noise
- You have trouble understanding someone standing close to you
- Others around you can hear the noise coming from your headphones
- You experience pain in your ears while listening to the sound
- You hear ringing or buzzing in your ears during or after listening to the noise
Hearing loss prevention tips for loud environments
If you work in a loud environment or are regularly exposed to loud sounds, there are simple steps you can take to protect your hearing.
- Limit the time you are exposed to loud sounds as much as possible
- Wear hearing protection (e.g. earmuffs, earplugs, custom noise earplugs, custom musicians’ earplugs)
- Take breaks from loud environments
- Keep a safe distance from loud machinery or toys
- Keep the volume of your television, radio, headphones, etc. to a moderate level
- Have your hearing regularly tested (at least every two years) if you’re exposed to loud sounds frequently and talk to your audiologist if you notice any hearing loss symptoms