Hearing Loss and Deafness: What You Should Know
Have you noticed that your hearing isn’t as sharp as it once was? Have you noticed that it’s gradually worsening over time? If so, you may belong in the 4% of people in the UAE who are hearing impaired.
Most people believe that hearing loss becomes a more serious problem during your older ages. However, that’s not the case. Our lifestyles as well as how loud we listen to music and sound can cause hearing loss and even deafness if we aren’t careful.
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There are many reasons as to why one may develop hearing loss and possible deafness. Some factors include lifestyle reasons such as listening to music too loud, poor hygiene and build-up dirt in our ear or working in conditions that are loud on multiple occasions, hours at a time.
Other reasons for hearing impairment or deafness can be caused by health conditions that are out of our control. These include:
- Infections such as meningitis, measles, and mumps
- Chronic ear infections
- Injury to the head
- Certain medications
- Family history of ear-related complications or hearing impairment
- Certain health conditions such as diabetes or cancer
Difference Between Hearing Loss and Deafness
If you notice that your hearing isn’t as goods as it once was, it’s important to know the difference between hearing loss deafness and profound deafness, so you know what the best action to take is and be able to treat yourself accordingly at first notice.
Hearing loss is when you struggle to hear sound but can still notice it very slightly. Deafness is when you can hardly hear the sound even when it’s been amplified. Profound deafness is when you cannot comprehend sound or when someone is speaking to you as you cannot hear any sound whatsoever.
It’s important to know how far along your hearing impairment is so you can get it checked up by a professional immediately. The worst scenario possible is profound deafness. Deafness can be broken down into four stages.
- Mild deafness: The person can only detect sounds between 25 and 29 decibels (dB). People at this stage can still hear but need to focus attention on what people are saying and find it especially hard if there is background noise.
- Moderate deafness: The person can only detect sounds between 40 and 69 dB. People at this stage have worse hearing and will probably need to use a hearing aid. Without it, it can be tough to hold a conversation.
- Severe deafness: The person only hears sounds above 70 to 89 dB. At this stage, a hearing aid will not help. The person will probably feel as if they are in the profound deafness stage. A person with severe deafness will need to learn to read lips or learn sign language.
- Profound deafness: Anybody who cannot hear a sound below 90dB has profound deafness. Anyone who has reached this stage must learn to read lips or sign language as they cannot hear anything at all, regardless of any aids.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss and Deafness
Hearing impairment is sometimes beyond our control. But there are things that we can do to prevent it from happening, or from the condition becoming worse.
Factors such as genetic or sudden injury aren’t things that we can prepare for, but if we understand how to take care of our hearing, we can certainly prolong it as well as living a better quality life. Here are a few things you can do to prevent hearing loss and deafness:
- Keep well below 85 decibels (dB) – Anything above this can damage your ears. A typical volume of 85 decibels would be a lawnmower. If you go to a loud concert or loud environments, make sure you cover your ears with earbuds, ear muffs or get away from the noisy environment if you can.
- Keep your ears clean – Clean out your ears regularly. Once a week should be enough. The build-up dirt and earwax can impair your hearing and possibly cause you an ear infection.
- Carry earbuds – Earbuds are small and light, and you can keep them in your bag or pocket. If you have sensitive hearing or want to protect your hearing, you can pop these on when you’re at a loud concert or work and not have to worry about damaging your hearing.
- Plan your day – If you are going somewhere for work or leisure, bring what you need if you know the place you’re going maybe noisy. Whether it be headphones, earbuds or an area, you can quickly move to get away from the loud sound. By planning your day, you can get away from all the threat that can compromise your hearing ability.
When to See a Doctor
Most people don’t even know their hearing is in decline because the gradual changes are so small they don’t realize it until it becomes severe. As soon as you notice your hearing isn’t so great, speak with your medical practitioner on how you can preserve your hearing, whether you need aid as well as getting the best advice on how to cope with it and prevent it from getting worse.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.
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