It is recommended to rest your ears for 18 hours after a noisy event and not to listen to music with headphones for more than an hour
A large proportion of cases of hearing loss are permanent
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Specialists in Otolaryngology, due to the fact that a large part of cases of hearing loss are permanent, place emphasis, especially among the young and working-age population, on the prevention of hearing damage. “The best way to protect a person’s hearing is to limit their exposure to loud noise.“, highlights Dr. Jesús Garibi, specialist in Otorhinolaryngology at IMQ, in the framework of the celebration of the International Day of the Deaf.
“That means both noises with great acoustic power on specific occasions, as well as noises that are not so strong but very continuous over time,” he specifies.
One of the main causes of hearing loss is exposure to noise, either because the person is exposed to loud noise in a timely manner, or because a person may be subjected to moderately high acoustic pressure for a long period of time , for example, in certain professions. “Fortunately, people can prevent, in most cases, the hearing damage associated with noise exposure,” emphasizes Dr. Garibi.
“For example,” the specialist lists, “when you go to a show in which it is known in advance that a great acoustic pressure is going to be recorded, it is advisable to use earplugs and not to stand near the speakers. Also, it is highly recommended that the ears rest for about 18 hours, after the end of the eventto recovery mode”.
In addition to the above, “for people who use headphones frequently, it is a good practice that, after an hour of use, they let the ears rest. And, likewise, the use of headphones that isolate outside noise is preferableso that they can be used with as little volume as possible.
Among the causes of hearing loss, the expert points to noise “as one of the most common.” However, there are also others, “such as the accumulation of wax inside the ear, eardrum problems (perforation, infection, etc.), certain diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and even genetic factors,” explains the IMQ expert.
Certain medications are sometimes capable of causing hearing loss. They are known as ototoxic. According to the Federation of Associations of Cochlear Implanted Patients of Spain, ototoxic drugs can cause cochlear, vestibular, or vestibular-cochlear syndromes.
Symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually, and there is, in general, a direct relationship between the dose administered and the severity of the otological lesion. From the Federation, it is especially warned about aminoglycoside antibiotics, which are commonly used in health care.
Another relevant factor in relation to hearing loss is age. “Some studies suggest that approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing lossand about 50% of people over the age of 75 have hearing problems,” he says.
In addition, as he points out, “the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive function is known. In older people, some cognitive functions such as memory and concentration are impaired more quickly when there is hearing loss. Likewise, the risk of developing dementia is higher in people with hearing loss.
Various investigations have confirmed the association between hearing loss (decreased hearing acuity) with a more rapid progression of cognitive deterioration during aging. “As various researchers have assessed, decreased hearing capacity is a risk factor for the development of cognitive impairment and, subsequently, dementia,” notes the specialist.
As highlighted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, lExposure to noise at work can be detrimental to the health of workers. The best-known effect of noise at work is hearing loss, and it can also increase stress and multiply the risk of an accident.
It is known that hearing loss as a result of noise is the most common occupational disease in Europe, and represents approximately one third of occupational diseases, ahead of skin and respiratory system problems. “Faced with this, it is necessary to use the appropriate work equipment at all times to protect the ear, as a first preventive measure”, highlights the IMQ otolaryngologist.
Three types of hearing loss can be cited. First, conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a disorder in the outer or middle ear, which prevents sound from being transmitted to the inner ear. There is also sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the hearing organ, cochlea, or auditory nerve is damaged or malfunctions so that it cannot send electrical information to the brain accurately. Finally, there may be a mixed hearing loss, with the presence of the two previous disorders.
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