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How to Prevent Hearing Loss

5. Don't Smoke

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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Have Your Hearing Tested

Make an appointment to get your hearing tested if you:

  • Have close relatives with hearing loss
  • Have trouble hearing conversations
  • Are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis
  • Experience a frequent ringing sound in your ears

If you have some hearing loss, you can prevent further damage by avoiding exposure to loud noises. If your hearing loss is severe enough, you may benefit from a hearing aid or other treatment. Be sure to see your doctor if you experience sudden unexplained change in your hearing. Sudden hearing loss can be a symptom of other serious medical problems.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brandon Isaacson, MD on January 30, 2014
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