For one-third of people over the age of 65, hearing loss is a daily part of life. A majority of cases are caused by the natural process of aging and the condition can have profound impacts on mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

The journey from acknowledging age-related hearing loss has many stops, including a professional diagnosis and decisions to make about intervention. The time this process takes can vary between people, but the average person waits ten years to treat their hearing loss. 

In situations where many are hoping to delay confronting their hearing loss, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of protecting the hearing that remains while focusing on the hearing that’s been lost. People with hearing loss still need to protect their residual hearing.

What Is Residual Hearing?

Age is the leading predictor of hearing loss, which is why it is a condition often associated with older populations. Time itself wears away at the vulnerable but important inner ear cells. We are born with a finite number of these sensitive cells, which collect noise from the world and turn it into sound information that can be processed by the brain. 

Difficulty understanding speech, what people around you are saying, is one of the early hallmarks of hearing loss. This is because as we lose inner ear cell function, the ability to hear certain frequencies (often higher ones) departs. 

However, the hearing we have left after the appearance of hearing loss is of vital importance and referred to as residual hearing. It plays a role in how we can adapt to living with the easeful hearing that now escapes us. Intervening with a greater portion of residual hearing can make the transition of treating hearing loss with interventions like hearing aids easier and more fluid. 

While it can be seductive to fixate on the hearing we’ve lost, protecting the hearing we have left becomes paramount.

The Danger Of Noise Exposure

Second only to aging, exposure to excessive noise harms hearing health. We often associate this type of noise-induced hearing loss with factory or manufacturing work. Long hours in noisy situations for a number of years can cause significant damage to hearing health. 

But our world is becoming increasingly louder, thanks to amplification technology and personal listening devices. There are everyday activities and behaviors that carry noise exposure risk. When it comes to adopting responsible strategies that protect residual hearing, noise is the variable in hearing loss that we can control.

Ways To Protect Yourself From Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Take an oath to become volume vigilant. Turning the volumes down in the car or while watching television is an easy way to protect hearing. Try keeping the volume at the lowest level that you can still hear dialogue. At home, turn on closed captioning to help assist with quiet speaking scenes. 

If you’re a person who plugs into headphones or earbuds for a portion of your time, the risk to hearing health is amplified. On personal devices, extreme decibels are delivered directly into your ears. Keep these volumes at halfway and never exceed two-thirds of maximum volume to maintain a safe range for your ears. 

Small Changes In Lifestyle That Can Make An Impact

Studies have reflected positive correlations with lifestyle changes that may also help protect your hearing, or preserve the hearing you have left. You don’t have to go vegan, small additions to your current meal plan is a great first step. Add a fruit and vegetable to each day in order to reap the benefits of quality vitamins and minerals that assist in hearing health.

Find a type of movement you like to do and engage in that activity regularly. If you’re a bit sedentary right now and this seems daunting, try to do five to ten minutes of fun movement a couple times a week. Dancing in the kitchen to some tunes while you do the dishes counts! 

Get In Touch With Our Team

We work diligently to help people hear better every day. Get in touch with our team to schedule a simple hearing exam and begin exploring your best hearing now.