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                  For Your Health
                        By:  Julie Millican, RN

          

Have you heard the latest?  Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US.  Cause of hearing loss includes age, illness, and genetics.  Not surprisingly, continuous and loud noises are also a cause of hearing loss.  Noisy occupations include carpenters, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.  Musicians and those listening to loud music can also damage their hearing.

Even certain medications impair hearing and/or balance.  Some antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs and some diuretics trigger hearing loss.  Illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, are also contributors.

Most hearing loss comes on slowly with loss of high-pitched sounds first such as children’s and female voices.  People with hearing loss tend to have increased trouble understanding phone conversations and respond inappropriately to people.  They also ask people to repeat themselves and complain of ringing or roaring sounds in their ears (tinnitus).

Hearing loss is classified into stages of mild, moderate, severe, and profound.  Treatment for hearing loss depends on the type and source of loss.  Most people with permanent hearing loss can benefit from using a hearing aid even though only one in five people use them.  There are new sound-enhancing technologies available including listening systems and phone-amplifying devices.  Surgery may be an option, especially in young children or something as simple as having the doctor clean wax from a person’s ears can improve hearing.

Some hearing loss can be prevented.  Wear earplugs when exposed to loud sounds.  Stay informed of ways to protect your hearing in the work place or in your daily activities.  Loss of hearing is on the rise and it is likely to continue with the next generation.

 

            Do not cast me off in the time of old age: do not forsake me when my strength is spent.                                                                              Psalm 71:9