• Reducing Your Risk of Hearing Loss

    There is currently no effective way to prevent congenital or genetic deafness or hearing loss. However, hearing screening for newborns can help ensure that hearing loss in young babies is detected and treated at the earliest possible stage.
    The following are steps you can take to help prevent other types of hearing loss:

    Stop Smoking

    Decreasing or quitting smoking may prevent or delay age-related hearing loss. Smoke may act as a toxin, harm blood flow to the cochlea, or change blood consistency.

    Prevent Ear Infections

    Washing your hands often can help prevent ear infections, which can lead to long-term hearing loss. This is especially important for children.

    Treat Other Medical Conditions

    A number of medical conditions can lead to hearing loss, especially if they are not treated properly. This is particularly true for ear infections, which occur often in children. But it is also true for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes , and illnesses that involve a high fever, such as meningitis.

    Address Nutritional Deficiencies

    It may be possible to slow age-related hearing loss in elderly persons through dietary modification. In a recent study, 728 men and women with age-related hearing loss and low folic acid levels in their blood were given either folic acid supplements (800 g) or placebo for three years. Hearing decline for speech was slower in the group that received folic acid during that period of time. *

    Get All Appropriate Immunizations

    This is especially important for children and pregnant women given the increased risk that infectious diseases such as rubella , measles , and mumps can lead to hearing loss. People at risk for the flu should get a flu shot each year to prevent respiratory infections that could lead to ear infection and hearing loss.

    References

    Hearing loss. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00172 . Accessed August 10, 2005.

    Hearing loss. NIH SeniorHealth, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/hearingloss/hearinglossdefined/01.html . Accessed August 10, 2005.

    Noise and hearing protection. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/healthinfo/hearing/noise%5Fhearing.cfm . Accessed August 10, 2005.

    Noise-induced hearing loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/noise.asp . Accessed August 10, 2005.

    Palmer KT, Griffin MJ, Syddall HE, et al. Cigarette smoking, occupational exposure to noise, and self reported hearing difficulties. Occup Environ Med . 2004;61:340-344.

    1/24/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Durga J, Verhoef P, Anteunis L, Schouten E, Kok F. Effects of folic acid supplementation on hearing in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Int Med. 2007;146(1):1-9.

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