Can hearing loss be prevented? †

Can hearing loss be prevented?  †

Every week we ask a medical professional a health question. This week: Can hearing loss be prevented? ENT doctor Willeke Lok: “The sooner you get there, the better.”

Isn’t hearing loss a part of aging?

“Ears do indeed wear out with age. Age-related hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss. About a quarter of those over 65 and half of those over 80 are affected. However, the extent to which you suffer from it differs. Most of the damage is caused by the noise.”

How does sound damage the ears?

“Sound consists of vibrations. In the lower part of the ear is the cochlea, which is covered with fine hair cells that transmit vibrations to the auditory nerve. Loud noises above 80 decibels can damage eyelashes.”

“You can compare it with a cornfield: when the wind blows on it, the grain flattens. Most deviations will disappear, but if there is frequent or prolonged thunderstorms, the roots will eventually break. † This is what happens to springs: they break.

What are the consequences of shattered eyelashes?

“They can no longer bear the sound. Once the hair is damaged, it cannot be repaired. It can take no more.”

What did you notice?

“The first sign is that conversations are often harder to follow, especially if there is a lot of buzzing or music in the background. This is because you can’t hear the high tones either. They are mainly absorbed by the eyelashes. beginning of the cochlea These hairs are probably the first to be damaged, because all sound waves pass through them first.”

“Be careful not to expose your ears to noise above 100 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to a chainsaw.”

How to prevent noise damage?

“By protecting your ears as much as possible against loud noises throughout your life. Bring earplugs to the concert. Use earplugs when working in and around the house that makes a lot of noise.”

“Don’t turn up the volume on your earbuds too loud while running or cycling. Then most people turn up the music too loud to hear the wind or traffic noise. You will soon be above 80 decibels. your ears can hear over 100 decibels of sound, roughly equivalent to a chainsaw.”

Should you see a deaf doctor?

‘You don’t have to go to the doctor. You must go to the hearing center for a hearing test. The sooner you get there, the better.”

Do you always have to wear a hearing aid?

“If the hearing test shows hearing loss, in many cases the audiologist will indeed recommend a hearing aid. This should not be taboo. Today’s hearing aids have become much smaller and more functional than they were barely visible.”

Don’t hearing aids make your ears lazy?

“This is a legend. Rather the opposite. You cannot start the hearing aid too early, but you can start it too late. If you wait too long, the nerve that sends sound to the brain can fail. move it because it wasn’t stimulated enough.”

Dr. Willeke Lok is an ENT specialist at the Zwijndrecht and Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Dordrecht.

Source: NU