How to improve your hearing

Recently, when I was at my younger brother’s birthday celebration, my Dad made a reference to having tinnitus (basically a low-level ringing in the ears) and I informed him that I had made a gag about tinnitus in a recent post (for those concerned, the funny story was that it made things sound ‘a lttle bit tinny’ – Not one of my better japes, I confess, but whatever…). He looked at me like I had just farted in church while I rapidly changed the subject.

So, if you are being affected by hearing loss or tinnitus, what can you do about it?

The fact is hearing troubles are principally caused by damage in the inner ear. One way this can happen is because of constant bombardment of noises over 110 decibels. According to new advice, the noise wears away the myelin casing, which is a coating that protects the nerve cells of the inner ear.

The good news is, however, the myelin sheath will, in most cases, repair itself, so all you need to do is TURN THE VOLUME DOWN or simply leave your iPod in the home for a number of days and you should start seeing improvements.

Every now and then, however, damage to the inner ear is so great that the body simply will not manage to fix itself. In this case, you’ll need to coach yourself to deal with your newfound disability. It’s a process that can produce serious melancholy and nervousness if not adequately confronted and dealt with.

The Beaumont Health Scheme gives some practical tips for managing hearing loss on their website. As outlined by them, hearing loss can be combated you follow these 3 steps:

1. Be an advocate for yourself. Others cannot guess what you need. By hiding a hearing loss you will miss conversation and may respond inappropriately and cause further miscommunication. Tell others if you are having difficulty understanding. If you don’t understand what someone has said ask him or her to rephrase the message, not just repeat it.  Often this will help improve your understanding.

2. Educate others regarding hearing loss. Many do not understand why you can hear that they are talking but cannot understand what you are saying. They also don’t know what they can do to help.  Ask others to talk more slowly and clearly and not to obstruct their mouths.

3. Manipulate your environment to your advantage.  Hearing clearly when there is background noise is probably the biggest challenge for people with hearing loss. When you can, choose quiet listening environments. In a restaurant, request to be seated in a quiet area away from the door and the kitchen. Partitions and low ceilings may be helpful to reduce noise. Also carpet and upholstery may help to reduce echo, which may help you to understand speech more clearly. Good lighting may also be helpful so that you can see the speaker’s face and gestures.

Another common (and fixable) problem is a development of earwax. Which is simple enough to resolve via usual use of a cotton bud. If that does not work, it’s consistantly possible to get your ears syringed, which is a totally disgusting (but genuinely successful) technique for defrayal out one’s lugholes. 

Your audible range will degrade as you get older (like most things you hold dear I’m afraid, up to and including: your metabolism, sexual potency, muscle tone, skin, charisma and hair colour). Yup. Sucks getting old.

Lastly, if you’re facing serious hearing problems, try to reduce any future damage. The way it says on WikiHow:

“Although you can’t reverse the hearing loss you’ve already suffered, you can take steps to keep it from getting worse. Reduce your exposure to loud, sustained noises[. If noisiness like this is part of your job (say you’re a construction worker or employed at a concert venue), consider wearing specialty ear plugs or changing jobs. If you wear earbuds or headphones to listen to music, keep the volume low or moderate. Try to reduce your exposure to high volumes overall, and you’ll reduce future hearing loss”.

It’s also recommended to find a doctor. I’m not a physician. I’m a contract writer with access to Google. If you suspect that anything mentioned in the above piece is affecting you, then please make an appointment with the local GP.