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Hannah Gravenor

Senior Audiologist

What can you do to help your hearing – A practical guide

Posted on 2021-02-11 12:53:00 in General

We often get asked about what you can do to help you hearing. In this practical guide, we outline some steps you can take to look after your hearing.

1. Protect your hearing

Exposure to loud noises can have a detrimental impact on your hearing. The impact from a sudden loud sound such as an explosion could be immediate, whilst damage from other sounds could happen more slowly. Consistently listening to music at a high volume through headphones is an example of this – lots of people don’t notice an immediate change in their hearing so don’t realise the damage that is being done.

Signs that the noise level is too loud:

  • You have to speak loudly or shout to be heard
  • You have to move closer to people to hear them
  • Your ears begin to ring
  • Your hearing starts to sound muffled

Tips to protect your hearing:

  • Wear hearing protection if you know you are going to be exposed to loud noise, such as a loud music concert.
  • If you don’t have hearing protection, try to move yourself further from the noise source.
  • Try to minimize the length of time you are exposed to loud sounds.
  • Ensure you don’t turn your headphone volume higher than the recommended safe levels.

 

2. Signs that you need your hearing tested

It is a good idea to arrange to have a hearing test if you notice any changes in your hearing. This could be noticing you frequently ask people to repeat themselves or struggle to hear when there is background noise. The test may indicate normal hearing, or it may show that you have a hearing loss. Any future hearing tests can be compared to this baseline test to monitor any changes over time.

What to expect in a hearing test

We recommend that you speak to your GP if you have noticed any changes in your hearing. They will be able to check your ears are not blocked with wax, and can refer you for a free NHS hearing test if needed. Alternatively, there are numerous private clinics who offer hearing tests which are often free of charge.

If you would like to know more about hearing tests offered by Chime, please contact us on 01392 402223. 

 

3. If you have a hearing loss

If your hearing test indicates you have a hearing loss, your audiologist will discuss your options going forward, which may include wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids are designed to help you hear speech more clearly and at a more comfortable volume, as well as hearing every day sounds such as the television or the doorbell ringing.

Wear your hearing aids

It is a good idea to start wearing hearing aids as soon as they are recommended for you by your audiologist. Our brains tend to be good at identifying and ‘tidying up’ areas that are under stimulated. This can mean that if certain parts of the auditory system are under stimulated, the brain may ‘switch off those parts’. Your ability to process sound can decrease, which is known as auditory deprivation. By stimulating the hearing nerves with sound from hearing aids, they are kept active.

Wear hearing aids sooner rather than later

Lots of evidence indicates the longer people put off wearing hearing aids, the harder it is for their brain to adjust to hearing sound again. Therefore, we always recommend that our patients start wearing hearing aids early, and to always wear both hearing aids if two are needed. This ensures that their brain is not deprived of sound for longer than necessary and continues to be able to process sound filtering out the noises they don’t wish to focus on and attending to speech that is important.

 

There are several options for you when it comes to choosing a hearing aid. If you would like to know more about the hearing aid options that are available, please contact