Is Your Hearing Healthy?

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Hearing is an everyday body function that people typically don’t give much thought to. Since normal age-related hearing loss can be gradual, some may not even realize that their hearing abilities have declined until they max out the volume on their TV.


What causes hearing loss? At any age, buildup of wax can block the ear canal and result in minor hearing loss. Age-related hearing decline, however, is caused by gradual damage to the hairs and nerve cells in the cochlea, a snail-shaped structure in your inner ear where vibrations are translated into electric signals and transmitted to the brain. Over time, exposure to loud noises and other stimuli can lead to this damage.


How can you support healthy hearing? Put away that Q-tip! Ear wax generally does not present a problem unless it is noticeably affecting your ability to hear. And even then, sticking a cotton swab in your ear can do way more harm than good. Instead, talk to your doctor about a safe way to soften and remove ear wax buildup.


Other things you can do to support healthy hearing include limiting exposure to loud or repetitive noises, for example, by wearing earplugs at a concert or turning down the volume on your MP3 player to a moderate level. Another option is to ensure you are getting adequate levels of B-vitamins, which can support optimal hearing function.


The best way to support healthy hearing is to get regular screenings from your doctor. This can help you determine your level of hearing loss, if any, and what your options are.