Hearing loss affects millions of people. It is important to know the risk factors that can lead to hearing loss to determine if you are in danger. Once you know your risk level, you can determine ways to prevent hearing loss or help treat the conditions involved.
The risk factors for hearing loss can be divided into two categories: genetic and environmental. Environmental factors are the easiest to control and proactive measures can be taken at any time to help reduce your risk. High noise levels are the most common environmental factor that often leads to hearing loss. This is especially true in the workplace where you may be exposed to dangerous levels of sound for prolonged periods. Hearing loss commonly happens over time, so it is important to take measures to prevent damage as early as possible. Military personnel, construction workers, musicians and factory workers are just a few of the types of workers at high risk. Speak with your employer about your exposure to noise. In many cases, your employer is obligated to provide you with safety measures such as earplugs or earmuffs and even regular hearing tests. If you believe you are at risk on the job, take action to protect your hearing as soon as possible. Check in with your doctor or an audiologist to determine your risk and also determine if any damage has already been done. Disease or physical trauma are other environmental factors that can lead to hearing loss. High fevers, infections, head trauma and objects entering the ear canal are also common sources of hearing loss. Again, check with your doctor if you experience any of these risk factors.
Genetic factors are difficult to control and also play a major role in hearing loss. Unfortunately, there may not be any way to avoid eventual hearing loss, but it is important to be aware of your family history as early as possible. If you know that hearing loss runs in your family, seek out professional medical advice before you experience hearing loss. While you may not be able to prevent the problem, you will be able to seek out help to improve your hearing once it does affect you.
Whatever the source of your risk factors, being able to recognize them will give you an edge on dealing with the problems associated with hearing loss. It is never too early to plan for this problem and you may be able to prevent hearing loss altogether. Make hearing tests a part of your regular healthcare plan so that you can catch damage early on. Your doctor may not recommend hearing tests, so it is up to you to bring this up at your regular visits.