Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Hearing in Your 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s

The most common forms of hearing loss in adults are age-related and noise-induced hearing loss. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you protect against hearing loss – and we’ve included a list of 10 tips here to ensure that your ears stay as sharp as possible.

1. Have Your Hearing Tested
If you have close relatives with hearing loss, have trouble hearing conversations, experience frequent ringing in your ears, or are frequently exposed to loud noises, you should consult a physician and have your hearing tested. If you experience a sudden change in your hearing, see your doctor right away. Sudden hearing loss can sometimes be a symptom of other, more serious conditions.

2. Check Medications for Hearing Risks
Some 200 medications are potentially ototoxic, or damaging to hearing. These include some antibiotics and certain cancer-fighting drugs, among others. Even high doses of aspirin can harm your ears. If you take a prescription medication, check with your doctor to make sure it doesn’t pose a threat to your hearing. If you must take a medication that may be ototoxic, make sure your doctor monitors your hearing and balance before and during your treatment.

3. Avoid Excessive Noise
This might seem obvious (not to mention, what you would prefer anyway!) But how loud is too loud? If you have to shout over surrounding noise, it’s loud enough to damage your hearing. For example, the sounds from motorcycles, music players, and power tools like saws and drills are all loud enough to hurt your hearing over time.

4. Limit Exposure to Loud Sounds
Sometimes you can’t avoid loud sounds. At those times, it’s best to limit the amount of time you’re exposed to them. Noise-induced hearing loss is a result of the loudness of sounds in addition to the duration of exposure.

5. Curate Your Quiet Environment
Turn down the ambient noise level in your life by buying appliances and devices that have low noise ratings. If ambient noise is too loud in a health club, movie theater, restaurant, or any other place you go often, ask the manager to turn it down.

6. Wear Hearing Protection
Wear ear protection if you know you’re going to be exposed to loud sounds for more than a few minutes. Choices for protection include earplugs, earmuffs, and noise-cancelling headphones.

7. Don’t Smoke
In addition to more serious illnesses such as respiratory disease and cancer, exposure to tobacco smoke has been linked to increased risk of hearing loss. Research has shown that smoking, age, and noise exposure can collectively increase a person’s risk for hearing loss. If you smoke, preserving your hearing is one more good reason to quit. If you don’t smoke, avoid breathing secondhand smoke.

8. Remove Earwax Properly
Waxy buildup in your ears can muffle sound. But don’t use a cotton swab to clean them out. Cotton swabs can push wax even deeper into your ear canal. Instead, use an at-home irrigation kit to soften wax and gently wash it out of your ear. If wax has become compacted in your ear, your doctor may need to remove it.

9. Exercise
Studies show that regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy body and can reduce the risks of everything from diabetes to cancer and yes, even hearing loss.

10. Diet
A proper diet packed with nutrient-dense foods is a great way to protect against many signs of aging. Including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet will help you combat stress, mental fatigue, loss of hearing and eyesight as well as provide your body with the clean energy source it needs.