In the hit film A Star is Born, one of the main characters deals with a health issue that affect millions in real life. Played by Bradley Cooper, musician Jackson Main struggles with hearing loss.

360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and The World Health Organization warns that 1 in 4 people will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050, unless action is taken.

Here’s the thing: If you’re around loud sounds, you should know that you could be at risk too.

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Our ability to hear is precious and even mild hearing loss can have a profound effect on our quality of life and our relationships. Most people tend to ignore the clues that their hearing isn’t what it’s supposed to be, in fact, others may notice it before you do.

Do you often misunderstand others and constantly ask them to repeat themselves? Or maybe you’re listening to music or watching television with the volume higher than what other people need?  

Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, ageing, and off course exposure to excessive noise. In many cases, hearing fades so slowly you don’t even notice it. You may think that people are mumbling or that your spouse needs to speak up.

The good news is that medical and surgical treatment can fortunately cure most ear diseases, potentially reversing associated hearing loss. Also, technology such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, when accompanied by rehabilitation therapy, can benefit adults and children alike.

However, when hearing loss is irreversible, here’s what you can do to make life a little easier:

For starters, let people know what works and what doesn’t.

  • Ask people to face you when they speak to you, so you could pick up on visual cues.
  • Remove sources of background noises that you don’t need. For instance, turn off the TV when no one is watching.
  • Ask them to get your attention before they start talking, to speak clearly, and not to shout.
  • Consider an assisted listening device. They work by amplifying the sound of the speaker, making it rise above any other sound.
  • Try not to get frustrated, you are not alone. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent health condition amongst older adults.

Although many cases of hearing loss are not preventable, you can be proactive and protect yourself against hearing loss caused by loud noises:

  • Limit the duration and intensity of your exposure to noise. Wear earplugs when you’re around sounds as loud, or louder than traffic.
  • Turn down the tunes, especially if you’re wearing headphones or earbuds.
  • Take precautions at work. Talk to your employer if the noise levels at work are louder than a busy street. Get your hearing tested once a year if you are at high risk of noise induced hearing loss.

Also, pay attention to any hearing changes while on certain medication. If you notice any balance issues or ringing in your ears, speak to your doctor or audiologist.

Have you done enough to protect your hearing today?

Source: webmd.com, mayoclinic.org, amplifon.com, newindianexpress.com, decibullz.com, afro.who.int, raleighcapitoplent.com, who.int, nhs.uk, lmhofmeyr.co.za, menshealth.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.