Hearing experts share advice on how to protect hearing at every stage of life.
By Andrea Walker-Leidy
Sponsored by Oakland Hearing Aid Center
From the time your little one is born, many parenting questions arise. Do you vaccinate? Do you let your baby “cry it out” at night? Do you let your teen get a cellphone? The list goes on and on.
Yet, one question is often overlooked: Am I protecting my child’s hearing? While you may instinctively double check the five-point harness in the car seat, are you checking to ensure that your child’s headphones aren’t turned up too loud?
Colleen Newman and Hillary Wright of Oakland Hearing Aid Center see the damaging effects of improper hearing protection in their adult clients and want to help parents protect their children at every stage of life.
“We live in a noisy world. Children are exposed to things that can have damaging effects if volume isn’t limited and hearing protection is not being utilized,” Wright says. “Toys, earbuds, gaming system headsets, concerts and even parades can be at volumes that can damage hearing.”
Noise exposure can have a negative impact on hearing over time. Protecting hearing from a young age helps to reduce these negative effects.
“Exposure to excessive noise levels can cause permanent damage to the hair cells within the inner ear,” Newman says. “These hair cells cannot be regenerated.”
As children get older, their exposure to noise increases. Earmuffs or earplugs should be worn when they are out with friends at loud events, concerts or in arenas. If a teen begins to play an instrument and plays in a band, musician’s plugs will help to protect hearing without distorting the integrity of the music.
“Hearing protection isn’t just for children,” Wright says. “Adults should wear hearing protection while using power tools or loud equipment. And, of course, it’s smart to bring along earplugs if you’re going to a concert or a football game.”
Newman and Wright also suggest making sure that gyms and exercise classes aren’t playing music, or instructing, at high noise levels. Finding the right hearing protection for these classes or activities can make them more enjoyable and safer.
“Custom noise reduction earplugs require a mold to be taken from a professional,” Newman says. “Earmuffs can also be purchased at many local stores or online. At times, combining both earplugs and earmuffs can be used for maximum protection.”
Hearing issues are not only caused by noise. Along with aging, genetics can have an impact on hearing. There are also other health issues linked to hearing loss such as dementia, social isolation, depression, diabetes and heart disease.
At any age, having regular hearing tests can help monitor your hearing. Early detection is key. Hearing loss due to aging cannot always be avoided, but many forms of loss or damage can be prevented.
Talking to the experts at Oakland Hearing Aid Center will help you to discover what products will keep your hearing safe. The professionals can also help add safety into your lifestyle now to keep hearing well into the future.
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