I have had trouble hearing ever since I could remember. I have always been known as the “loud one” in my family, mostly because I had such trouble hearing people all the time, I thought ‘if I can’t hear them, they must not be able to hear me!’ That was not always the case lol 🙂 As an infant and young child, I suffered from constant, severe ear infections and ended up having 3 sets of tubes in my ears before I was 4 years old. The constant ear infections didn’t really stop until I was in college. As a result of all the ear infections and surgeries, I have significant scarring on my ear drums.
Just recently, I noticed that I have been having more and more trouble hearing people. I am on the phone all day, everyday for my job. One day in particular, I realized that I had to ask callers to repeat themselves or speak louder at least a dozen times. It gets to a point when it’s really quite aggravating. Aggravating to the point that I didn’t want to go to work and deal with not being able to understand what people were saying.
I called my PCP and got an appointment with an audiologist to have my ears looked at and hearing tested. The results were good but disappointing at the same time. My hearing is ‘riding’ the line of Normal Hearing and Mild Hearing Loss. I was happy to hear there was no blockage, fluid issues, etc., however, there is nothing at this point that can improve my hearing or to ‘help’ me hear better. All that I can do now, is to try to prevent any further hearing loss. The audiologist explained that from here on out any exposure to higher frequencies/decibels would very quickly lead to more hearing loss.
The next thing I did was some research on what to do to prevent as well as what will increase my likelihood of more hearing loss. I figured it would be some helpful information to share with you all.
As runners, many of us like to listen to music when we run. I do quite often and I’ve said many times that I don’t like going on long runs without some music to keep me ‘pumped’. The problem with ear buds is that they don’t block out background noise, so as a result, we turn the volume up higher in order to hear our music ‘better’. The louder the volume, the more risk to your hearing (let alone the risk of not hearing what is going on around you while running). The other problem is the longer you are exposed to the loud volume, the more likely your risk is (15 minutes is the recommended maximum time).
One thing the audiologist suggested to me, is that from here on out, I should wear ear protection as often as I can, even when mowing the lawn. It is very easy to find yourself exposed to loud noises and the longer the duration, the more at risk for hearing loss you become. This includes mowers, concerts, power tools and large sporting events. You can use the soft, foam ear plugs (found practically anywhere) or ear mufflers to help protect your ears.
Here are some helpful links to resources that I came across in my research: