Being exposed to loud
noise over and over is one of the most common causes of permanent hearing loss.
It usually develops slowly and without pain or other symptoms, and you may not
notice that you have hearing loss until it is severe.
The symptoms of tinnitus include a noise in the ears, such as ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, or whistling; the noise may be intermittent or continuous.
Most of the time, only the person who has tinnitus can hear it (subjective tinnitus). However, there are some types that the doctor can hear if a stethoscope is put in the ear (objective tinnitus).
Be aware of and avoid harmful noise. You can be exposed to harmful noise at work, at home, and in many
other settings. Know what kinds of situations can cause
harmful noise levels. To learn more about hearing protection in workplaces in the United States, contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). For more information, see the Other Places to Get Help
section of this topic.
Use hearing protectors. If you know you
are going to be around harmful noise, wear
hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs.
Control the volume when you can.
Reduce the noise in your life by turning down the volume on the stereo,
TV, or car radio, and especially on personal listening devices with
earphones or ear buds.
Don't wait to protect yourself. After noise-related damage to the ear
is done, it cannot be reversed. But if you already have some noise-related
hearing loss, it is not too late to prevent further damage and preserve the
hearing that you still have.
Preventing other causes of hearing loss
your risk of other types of
Never stick a cotton swab, hairpin, or other
object in your ear to try to remove earwax or to scratch your ear. The best way to prevent earwax problems is to leave earwax alone. For
information on how to remove hardened wax, see the topic
Always blow your nose gently and through both