Surely you hear – it is the way it is and there’s nothing you can or should do to look after it. For most of us we have heard since we were born and we took it for granted just like we took our fingers or toes or nose for granted. We had it - we heard - and there was nothing we had to do to make sure it continued.
However, our ears and the hearing organs are delicate and they were not designed to cope with the extremely noisy environment most of us now live in. We used to live in the country with peace and quiet and only farm noises to stir us. But these days we live in cities, travel in noisy, cars, buses, trains, trucks and aeroplanes. We work in factories, attend loud music venues, watch television, listen to the radio and music and use the phone often far too long. All of these noises have an impact on our ability to hear.
Some years ago I attended a Christmas party at a hotel which had a Christmas show. The music at that place was so loud it cut out my cochlear implant processors flattening the sound. This was terribly unpleasant so I removed the processors. But instead of getting relief, although I couldn’t hear the sound any more, I could now feel the vibrations - so strongly it was painful. I found it was better to put my processors back on and turn them down as far as I could. The sound was still too loud but at least I could no longer feel the vibrations. The sound in venue must have been damaging the hearing of many of the people attending – but the worst ones affected would have been the performers as well as the serving staff. I had ringing in my ears for 24 hours afterwards and this concerned me. [My husband, who attended with me, preferred to listen to the show in the mens! He told me that out there, with a number of walls in between, it was at a reasonable level and was actually quite enjoyable.]
So what can you do to look after your hearing?
- Avoid extremely loud noise
- Avoid prolonged noise
- Have your hearing checked
- If you get ringing (tinnitus) get it checking
- If you notice anything unusual about the level of sound you hear, you ask people to repeat what they say, you miss out on conversation when family or friends are visiting or you turn up the tv too loud, then this could mean you have a hearing loss – get it checked
- If a hearing aid is recommended, then get one. This will help to slow down your hearing loss
Research shows that if our hearing is fading and we don’t get it treated, the part of our brain which processes sound is affected and our hearing fades faster. It is better to wear a hearing aid even if it doesn’t help as much as we would like, because this keeps the hearing section of our brain active.
We rely on our hearing to keep us safe, to keep us connected to the world, family and friends, to communicate in our work place. When we lose it we don’t know how to connect with all the things which mean so much to us. Look after your hearing. It is precious.