091222 Prevention and Early Detection of Hearing Loss are Important
Prevention and early detection of hearing loss are important. If you have any signs of hearing loss or if you are at risk for hearing loss, get your hearing tested.
Don’t wait until you show signs of hearing loss. Have your hearing examined by your doctor during your regular checkup. A basic hearing evaluation usually includes a quick look in the ear with an special light for looking into the ear canal (otoscope) and other checks to assess the sounds you can hear.
Your doctor may refer you to a hearing specialist (audiologist) or other healthcare provider who is qualified to test hearing if you
- Have a history of exposure to loud noise,
- Feel your hearing has changed, or
- Have family or friends that say you have trouble hearing and understanding them. Those around us can be the first to notice our hearing problems.
The audiologist (hearing specialist) may have you listen to different sounds through headphones. This helps identify the softest sounds you can hear. The audiologist may have you repeat lists of words or complete other special tests.
Children should have their hearing tested before they enter school or any time there is a concern about the child’s hearing. Children who do not pass the hearing screening need to get a full hearing test as soon as possible. For details on screening and tests in children, visit CDC Screening | Hearing Loss in Children.
Tips for People at Risk for Noise-Related Hearing Loss
- Avoid noisy places whenever possible.
- Use earplugs, protective earmuffs, or noise-canceling headphones when around loud noises.
- Keep the volume down when using earbuds or headphones.
- Ask your doctor for a hearing checkup if you suspect you have had hearing loss.
The following conditions and exposures (to loud noises) can increase your risk for noise-induced hearing loss.
- Genetics and individual susceptibility to noise
- Long-standing (chronic) conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Injuries to the ear
- Organic liquid chemicals, such as toluene
- Certain medicines
Medicines that damage the ear are called ototoxic. The damage can result in hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or loss of balance. More than 200 medicines are ototoxic. They include certain antibiotics like gentamicin, cancer treatment drugs like cisplatin and carboplatin, and pain relievers that contain salicylate like aspirin, quinine, loop diuretics. And many other medicines. For more information, read “Ototoxicity: The Hidden Menaceexternal icon.”
Regular check-ups are especially important if you are at risk for hearing loss, such as
- If you have a family history of hearing loss not associated with noise exposure,
- If you work in a noisy environment,
- If you engage in noisy activities or hobbies, and
- If you take medicines that place you at greater risk for hearing loss (for example, certain antibiotics, cancer treatment drugs, pain relievers, and more).