Excessive noise exposure is the main factor we have control over. Maintaining good cardiovascular health and controlling chronic diseases as well, such as diabetes, can preserve microcirculation in the inner ear. A book I recommend is Save Your Hearing Now by Michael D. Seidman.
Being active and healthy is a good start to keeping your hearing at it's best. Also, just being aware of the environment that you are in, if there is loud noise wear hearing protection. Get a hearing test and consult with your medical professional to know where your loss is at and follow up every year to make sure something more serious isn't going on.
Technically, only noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. The key to preventing further deterioration from noise exposure is to:
1) Know what types of noise are potentially damaging to the auditory system. These include work-related exposures (i.e., factory worker, lawn care occupations, truck drivers, firefighters, police officers, military, etc.) as well as recreational exposures (hunting, snowmobiling, loud music, using headphones, playing in a band, etc.) Not all hazardous sounds are annoying; in fact, many potentially damaging sounds are perceived as pleasant or enjoyable (i.e., such as listening to music through your iPhone all day.)
2) Avoid these loud noises as much as possible. If unable to totally avoid, make sure you limit your exposure as much as possible.
3) Since it is difficult (if not impossible) to avoid every loud sound you are exposed to, the use of hearing protection is advised for all noisy activities. Hearing protection devices include earmuffs, foam earplugs, moldable silicone earplugs, and custom fitted earplugs that are made to the exact shape of your ears.
4) Make sure you seek out audiological monitoring on a regular basis, especially if you are exposed to noise either through work or through recreational means. A yearly hearing test can identify trends in your results that are associated with noise exposure and can identify progression related to noise damage. The effects of concurrent noise exposures are cumulative, and eventually result in permanent hearing loss.
There are no guarantees to "stop" hearing from getting worse, but there are several steps you can take to protect the hearing you have. The biggest culprit is noise. Try to avoid noise as much as possible by going to the quietest corner in a restaurant, for example...or staying away from speakers at a concert, or ar from fireworks at a celebration. And always wear hearing protection when in noise.
Many medications can also harm your hearing, like aspirin and some antibiotics. These are known as ototoxic Review your meds with your physicians and if any of them can make your hearing worse, ask him/her if there is another effective subsitution or if the dosage can be altered.
Taking care of your overall health as well will help your hearing. Watch your diet and weight and exercise. Diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., can all have a negative impact on your hearing.
And if you have a hearing loss, wear hearing aids. Hearing Aids may help slow down the progression of nerve and brain deterioration by keeping them active.
If you follow these suggestions, you will help your hearing stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Although it is true that some aspects of decreased hearing may be out of your control (such as genetics, pre-existing conditions, etc), there are some variables that you can control. It has been shown that living a healthy lifestyle that puts you at less risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health conditions can be good prevention for decreased hearing . This includes exercise and a health diet. In addition, protecting yourself from excessive, loud noise is another factor you can control. If you have hearing loss that can be helped with hearing aids, the use of amplification to stimulate the auditory system and brain is also known to be beneficial. Like most issues that we face across life, having a positive attitude and being aware of the issues you can control when facing a health condition are important first steps.
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