It’s a fact of life – as you get older, your body starts to give out. And when it comes to your ears, 40% of people over 65 have trouble hearing. But although some of that decline comes down to good ol’ aging - a lot of it is the result of years of cumulative damage. At least, that’s the word from Dr. James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. But he says fortunately, the harm we do to our ears can be minimized. So her are a few guidelines to follow, courtesy of Cooking Light magazine
- Turn it down. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association recommends that you lower your headphone volume to the halfway point, and limit your listening session to one hour at a time. Or wear headphones that block out other noises so you’re not compelled to crank up the volume. And if you know you’re going to be exposed to something loud, like the jackhammer outside your office window or a rock concert you bought tickets for, wear earplugs to cut the noise.
- Research your medications. Certain medications can cause damage and hearing loss. Some of the ones on the list include antibiotics - like amino-glyco-sides and erythro-mycin, and some chemotherapy drugs - like cisplatin. So, when taking a prescription, ask if there’s any risk of hearing damage. And if so, find out if there’s an alternative.
- Steer clear of Q-Tips. Cotton swabs – or anything else for that matter – have no place in your ears. If you poke too deeply, you can rupture an eardrum and cause hearing loss. The ear is pretty much self cleaning. But if you feel like you have a blockage in there, see your doctor. Otherwise, use a warm, soapy washcloth to gently clean the outside of your ears.