75% of inhabitants of industrialized cities suffer from some degree of hearing loss.
The rock band AC/DC cancels its tour in the United States because of the risk of deafness of its vocalist, Brian Johnson. But musicians, because of their continued exposure to noise, are not the only ones who are exposed to a greater risk of hearing loss.
In fact, an estimated one-third of the world’s population and 75 percent of the inhabitants of industrialized cities suffer some degree of deafness or hearing loss caused by exposure to high-intensity sounds.
The Audiology Commission of the SEORL-CCC, with the aim of raising public awareness, has drawn up a decalogue of advice for taking care of our ears and avoiding deafness.
1] Use hearing protectors in case of continuous exposure to noise.
There are certain work environments that expose workers to very high intensities of noise over a prolonged period of time, so it is essential to have an impact on the use of protectors.
2] Care for noise
It is recommended to avoid impulsive noises (firecrackers, shooting), to move away from noise sources, to reduce the noise we generate and to reduce the time of exposure to high intensity sounds. According to boucle magnétique listening to music at more than 110 decibels (dB) can cause early hearing loss.
If the criteria established by the European directive are taken into account, what is permitted depending on time and volume would be to listen to a music player at 95 dB for 15 minutes a day and the sounds of a discotheque at 104 dB for two minutes a night.
And exposure to personal music players (including mobile phones) should be limited to 40 hours per week if the pressure level is 80 dB and to 5 hours per week if it is 89 dB.
3] Go to the specialist
The otolaryngologists recommend consulting in case of inflammation, pain, tamponade, tinnitus, ear secretion, as they can lead to hearing problems.
On the other hand, it is advisable to consult as soon as you notice hearing loss, although minimal. Some signs may be the difficulty of following a conversation or the need to turn up the television volume. These can be treated and, in some cases, their progression can be prevented.
4] Periodic revisions
It is advisable to have regular check-ups, at least once a year, if there are risk factors (family history, exposure to noisy environment) and, from the age of 50, to perform a hearing test.
5] Do not introduce foreign objects or substances
Use only products indicated for the ear and always under medical advice, so avoid the use of oils, saline solutions, drops, hydrogen peroxide, swabs or other objects, since the latter can push the wax inwards and damage the eardrum.
6] Ear Cleaning Recommendations
Experts advise cleaning only the outermost part of the ear with a towel or gauze. Never insert foreign objects or fingers for cleaning or scratching. If frequent cleaning is required, it is advisable to have it performed by a specialist.
7] Do not self-medicate
It is important to know that the indiscriminate use of both topical and oral medications can be harmful to the ears, as is the case with antibiotics, as they can generate resistance.
8] Recommendations during bathing
The water of public baths, whether sea, swamps or swimming pools, can be contaminated, which is why it is important to prevent infections to meet basic hygiene and cleanliness standards before and during the bath (shower and use of toilets).
It will be the specialist, evaluating each case individually, who recommends the use or non-use of plugs during the bath.
9] Avoiding blows
Special care should be taken with contact sports that can cause trauma to the ear area and cause problems. In the event of a direct blow or trauma to the ear area, it is advisable to consult a specialist.
10] Appropriate treatment for otitis in children
In case of suspected hearing loss in a child by parents and teachers is recommended to see a specialist, because even in the absence of pain, fever or discharge, there may be a recurrent otitis, which if not well treated can become chronic and lead to hearing loss.