October brings our focus to several prevention topics, including very important Breast Cancer Awareness. A lesser known, but still important prevention, is addressed through October’s National Protect Your Hearing Month. Our final, third installment in our October Prevention Series focuses on how to protect your hearing. Maintaining your hearing is an important aspect of your safety and independence as you age. If your aging loved one is experiencing hearing loss, we’ve also listed resources to help including some that are specifically for veterans who have hearing loss from their military service.
How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (from the American Academy of Family Physicians at AAFP.org):
- You can make “hearing health” a part of your lifestyle. Stay away from loud or prolonged noises when you can. Turn down the music volume. Buy power tools that have sound controls.
- When you must be around noise, either at work or at play, use something to protect your hearing.
- Hearing protection devices, like earplugs, earmuffs and canal caps, are sold in drugstores and hardware stores. Different brands offer different amounts of protection. If you are not sure which kind is best for you, or how to use it correctly, ask your doctor. Often the best kind is the one that you feel comfortable in so you can wear it when you need it.
- Keep your hearing protectors handy and in good condition.
- Teach your family how important it is to stay away from too much noise and to use hearing protection.
- If you think you have a hearing loss (or if someone in your family thinks so), it is important to have your hearing tested.
If your aging loved one is experiencing age-related hearing loss, NIDCD.NIH.gov advises the following:
- Tell your friends and family about your hearing loss. The more friends and family you tell, the more people there will be to help you cope with your hearing loss.
- Ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so that you can see their faces. If you watch their faces move and see their expressions, it may help you to understand them better.
- Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.
- Turn off the TV or the radio when you aren’t actively listening to it.
- Be aware of noise around you that can make hearing more difficult. When you go to a restaurant, for example, don’t sit near the kitchen or near a band playing music. Background noise makes it hard to hear people talk.
Finally, the Hearing Loss Association of America (“HLLA”) at hearingloss.org includes a page for veterans with a wealth of resources:
- Information on the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project
- Free HLAA Convention Registration
- Telecommunications Equipment and Assistive Listening Systems
- Education and Webinars
As a senior, or an adult with aging parents, hearing loss prevention is key at every age – so remember to apply these tips with your young children and grandchildren, too! Cooperative Home Care is another great resource for seniors and adult children caring for their aging parents. Contact us for insight and resources about home care, including a free assessment when you want to learn more.