According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 7% of adults aged 45 and older used a hearing aid in 2019, and these numbers are only likely to grow.
If you’re one of the millions of adults who use hearing aids to treat their hearing loss, you know what a powerful tool they can be. However, even though they greatly benefit your hearing, they can’t actually protect your ears from additional harm due to loud noises.
Let’s take a look at how you can take steps to protect your ears while still wearing your hearing aids.
Noise Exposure and Hearing Loss
Exposure to loud noise is one of the leading causes of sensorineural hearing loss, along with aging. Any exposure to volumes above 85 dB has the potential to damage the hair cells within the inner ear and lead to permanent hearing loss. The louder the noise, the less time it takes for damage to occur.
Even if you already have hearing loss, loud noise exposure can cause additional damage and make your hearing loss more severe.
Protecting Your Ears at Work and at Home When You Have Hearing Aids
If you work in construction, manufacturing or other loud environments, you are likely regularly exposed to volumes well above the 85 dB threshold. It’s essential to wear hearing protection while on the job to keep your ears safe.
However, certain hearing protection, like earplugs, is not possible to wear with hearing aids. Some may feel like they are in the unfortunate position of having to choose whether to wear their hearing aids and forgo protection or take their hearing aids out while they wear earplugs and potentially not be able to hear the sounds they need to while working.
Thankfully, you have the option of wearing passive earmuffs that cover your whole ear and fit over your hearing aids comfortably. This means you don’t have to choose between wearing your hearing aids and protecting your ears from further damage.
It’s not just the workplace where you might encounter loud noises. Many household activities like mowing the lawn, using a snow blower or using power tools to do home repairs can all reach harmful volumes and require hearing protection as well.
Some people with hearing aids think that if they remove their hearing aids when exposed to loud noise that it will help. However, this can expose your ears to additional damage and can prevent you from hearing important sounds or information.
Getting Tested For Additional Hearing Loss
If you’ve noticed that even with your hearing aids, you’re not hearing as well as you used to on the job or when out to eat with friends at Bradley’s Corner Café, schedule an appointment with your audiologist. It’s possible that your hearing loss has changed or that your hearing aids need to be repaired or replaced.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Topeka Ear Nose & Throat today.