How to enhance your hearing

In recent times, when I was at my younger brother’s birthday party, my Dad made a reference to developing tinnitus (basically an occasional-level ringing within the ears) and I told him that I had made a joke about tinnitus in a recent post (for those interested, the funny story was that it made things sound ‘a lttle bit tinny’ – Not amongst my better japes, I admit, but whatever…). He looked at me like I’d just farted in church while I rapidly changed the subject.

So, if you’re struggling with hearing loss or tinnitus, what can you do about it?

The fact is that hearing troubles are mostly caused by damage in the inner ear. One way this could happen is because of steady attack of noises over 110 decibels. According to new advice, the sound wears away the myelin casing, which is the outside layer that protects the nerve cells of the inner ear.

The excellent news is, however, that the myelin sheath will, typically, repair itself, so all you need to do is TURN THE VOLUME DOWN or just leave your iPod at home for a number of days and you should start seeing improvements.

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

The Beaumont Health System gives some practical tips for coping with hearing loss on their site. As outlined by them, hearing loss could be combated if 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 the build up of earwax. Which is straightforward enough to resolve via regular use of a cotton bud. If that does not work, it is consistantly possible to get your ears syringed, which is really a totally disgusting (but genuinely effective) technique for clearing out one’s lugholes. 

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

Finally, if you are facing serious hearing troubles, try to reduce any upcoming harm. As 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 is also highly recommended to find a doctor. I am not a physician. I am a contract writer with access to Google. If you suspect that anything mentioned in the above article affects you, then please make an appointment with your local GP.