Unraveling the Mystery of Hearing Health: Your Top Questions Answered

Hearing health remains a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of overall well-being. This blog aims to demystify the topic by answering your burning questions about hearing issues, from common symptoms to advanced treatments. We’ll also explore how specialized hearing health centers offer comprehensive care to diagnose, manage, and treat hearing conditions. Stay tuned to empower yourself with knowledge and take proactive steps towards hearing health solutions.

What Is Hearing Health?

Hearing health is the overall state of your hearing. It includes your ability to hear sounds, understand speech, and enjoy the sounds of your environment. Good hearing health is essential for your overall health and well-being. It allows you to communicate effectively, participate in activities you enjoy, and stay safe.

Various types of hearing loss can negatively impact hearing health. Sensorineural hearing loss is often irreversible due to inner ear or auditory nerve damage. Conductive hearing loss arises from obstructions or abnormalities in the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear. Doctors can often treat it medically or surgically. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both. Causes range from aging, exposure to loud noises, and genetic factors to ear infections, head injuries, and certain medications. Understanding these types helps in early diagnosis and in finding hearing health solutions.

Learn more about different types of hearing loss here. 

Can Hearing Loss Be Prevented?

You can manage your hearing health and reduce your chances of hearing loss in some cases. Here are some ways to prevent hearing loss:

  • Protect your ears from loud noise. Loud noise is the leading cause of preventable hearing loss. Avoid exposure to loud noises, such as listening to loud music, using power tools, and attending concerts. If you must be around loud noise, wear ear protection.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking damages the inner ear and can lead to hearing loss. Quit smoking if you do.
  • Take care of your overall health. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated can help to improve your overall health and protect your hearing health.
  • Get hearing checkups at hearing health centers. Early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can help to prevent further hearing loss and improve your quality of life.

Explore more about hearing protection.

A hand holds an otoscope against a white coat.

How Will I Know If I Have a Problem With My Hearing Health?

There are many signs and symptoms of hearing loss. Some of the most common include:

  • Muffled speech: You may need help understanding speech, especially in noisy environments.
  • Needing repeats:  You may ask people to repeat themselves more often.
  • Higher volume:  You may need to turn up the volume of the TV or radio to hear it clearly.
  • Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds: You may have trouble hearing sounds like birds chirping or children laughing.
  • Conversational struggles: You may have difficulty following conversations, especially if multiple people are talking or there is a lot of background noise.
  • Withdrawing from social situations: You may avoid social situations because you have difficulty hearing.
  • Feeling tired or stressed. Listening to people with hearing loss can be tiring and stressful.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus): Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in the ears. It is not a hearing loss itself, but it can be a sign of hearing loss.

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, visiting hearing health care centers for a hearing test is important. Early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can help to prevent further hearing loss and improve your quality of life.

Here are some additional tips for recognizing hearing loss:

  • Pay attention to how well you can hear in different situations. Do you have more difficulty hearing in noisy environments? Do you have more difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds?
  • Ask your friends and family if they have noticed any changes in your hearing. They may be able to tell you if you are having difficulty hearing things you used to hear.
  • Take a hearing test. The only way to know for sure if you have hearing loss is to take a hearing test. Some hearing health centers have free hearing screenings. 

If you have hearing loss, seeing an audiologist for a hearing test is important. Early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can help to prevent further hearing loss and improve your quality of life.

See your local American Hearing + Audiology hearing health care centers for a free hearing checkup. 


How Often Should I Have My Hearing Tested?

There are no agreed-upon standards for adult hearing screenings, though this table from the NIH comprehensively summarizes where many leading hearing health organizations stand. Our audiologists feel that ASHA’s guidelines of every three years for those over 50 with no symptoms make hearing health solutions easier. However, our hearing health centers staff and several expert groups recommend annual tests for certain groups, such as: 

  • People over 60: Frequent testing becomes crucial due to age-related hearing loss, known as presbycusis. Cumulative damage to inner ear cells affects high-frequency hearing. By age 65, one in three people experience presbycusis, rising to one in two by age 75. Annual tests are recommended after 60, symptoms or not.
  • People exposed to loud noises: Noise-induced hearing loss is also common and impacts all age groups. Those regularly exposed to noisy environments should get annual tests. This includes workers in construction, manufacturing, and roles like law enforcement and military.
  • People with hearing loss: Even if already diagnosed and using hearing aids, regular tests are essential. Your hearing may still change; regular tests ensure your hearing aids are optimally programmed. Annual tests are recommended.

Are There Any Natural Remedies That Can Improve Hearing Health?

While no scientific evidence supports using natural remedies for hearing loss, certain lifestyle and environmental changes can improve hearing health.

  • Limit Noise Exposure: Loud noise is a leading cause of hearing loss. Use earplugs in noisy workplaces and keep headphone volume safe, taking breaks every 30 minutes.
  • Protect Against Injury: Shield your ears from damage due to ear infections, head injuries, or medical conditions. Wear helmets for activities like biking and earplugs while swimming.
  • Schedule Hearing Tests: Consult local hearing health centers with concerns. We can conduct tests and recommend treatments if needed.
  • Adopt Healthy Habits: Eating well, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can benefit your hearing.

Visit local American Hearing + Audiology hearing health centers for a free checkup.

A woman smiles while she listens to music on headphones.

Can Wearing Headphones or Earbuds Damage My Hearing Health?

Using headphones or earbuds at high volumes can harm your hearing health. The risk increases with louder music. To listen safely, keep the volume under 85 decibels, roughly 60% of the maximum volume on most devices. Take 30-minute breaks and avoid listening when you’re tired or stressed.

What Are Some Hearing Health Solutions?

Many hearing health solutions are available, depending on your individual needs and preferences. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Hearing aids: Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. They are small devices that amplify sound and make it easier to hear. Hearing aids come in a variety of styles and can be customized to fit your individual needs.
  • Assistive listening devices: Assistive listening devices (ALDs) can help people with hearing loss hear better in noisy environments. These devices include hearing loops, personal amplifiers, and FM systems.
  • Cochlear implants: Cochlear implants are surgically implanted devices that can restore hearing in people with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells in the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
  • Other treatments: Other treatments for hearing loss may include medication, surgery, or rehabilitation. The best treatment option for you will depend on the type and severity of your hearing loss and your individual needs and preferences.
  • Hearing conservation: Hearing conservation is a set of strategies to protect your hearing from damage. This can include avoiding loud noise, using ear protection when necessary, and getting regular hearing checkups.

Get details on top-rated hearing aids available at your local hearing health care centers. 

What Are The Treatment Options for Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of external noise. It is often described as a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound. Tinnitus comes from a variety of factors, including hearing loss, earwax buildup, and head injuries. There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

  • Hearing aids: Hearing aids can help to mask the sound of tinnitus by making other sounds louder.
  • Cochlear implants: Cochlear implants are surgically implanted devices that can restore hearing in people with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlear implants can also help to mask the sound of tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT): TRT is a type of therapy that helps people learn to ignore the sound of tinnitus. TRT involves using a combination of sound therapy and counseling.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps people change the way they think about and react to tinnitus. CBT can help people to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with tinnitus.
  • Masking devices: Masking devices emit a sound that is similar to the sound of tinnitus. This can help mask the tinnitus sound and make it less noticeable.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a technique that helps people learn to control their body’s functions. Biofeedback can be used to help people learn to control the blood flow to the ear, which can help to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus.

An audiologist answers patient questions.

Got More Hearing Health Questions?

In conclusion, understanding your hearing health is crucial for overall well-being and quality of life. Information is your first line of defense whether you’re dealing with issues now or want to take preventative measures. For further questions or to get a comprehensive hearing test, don’t hesitate to contact the local hearing health centers of American Hearing and Audiology. Our team of experts is ready to assist you in all aspects of hearing care. Thank you for joining us on this journey to better hearing health.