How is your hearing? Remember the phone commercial who’s slogan was “Can you hear me now?” In reality, that may be a bigger question than about your wireless coverage. It can be a sign of potential health trouble when questions like that are left unanswered or are constantly asked to be repeated.

Good communication is a give and take, there is a message sender and a receiver. In between, there is ample background noise and mistaken or unheard words. If this happens to you, there may be a concern for your health to consider — your hearing health. 

There are two prominent factors to indicate a problem in the receiver’s ability to hear the message being sent say leading ENTs.

There are two main symptoms with one’s hearing health: “One is tinnitus, where patients complain of hearing a humming, ringing or buzzing sound in their ears that isn’t really happening.” Tinnitus is prevalent affecting roughly one-fourth of the population. 

The second sign of potential hearing loss is when is constantly asking people to repeat themselves, which can be exacerbated when there is background noise to make matters worse.

The two biggest causes of hearing loss in otherwise healthy individuals are presbycusis and the second is noise induced trauma. Presbycusis is when hearing deteriorates with age. Presbycusis is caused by a blend of genetics and environmental factors that together impact one’s hearing health. Presbycusis occurs gradually, initially affecting the ability to hear higher-pitched, higher-frequency sounds.

The second biggest cause of hearing loss is completely preventable, Noise-induced hearing loss is caused when a person subjects himself to loud sounds without proper ear protection or through a damaging level of noise from such things as ear buds, or a loud work environment. 

Doctors say they are seeing a significant increase in noise-induced hearing loss, especially in the younger population, even as young as eleven or twelve. Essentially or unfortunately, most listening through headphones is too loud.

Most signs of hearing loss come from the people around the patient. Individuals experiencing hearing loss often have difficulty in distinguishing words that end in F or S, and the letters T and P are also difficult to understand. 

“These are the words that are asked to be repeated most often. Affected people will also often have their television volumes turned up too loud for the people around them.

Hearing professionals are also seeing an increase in the number of noise-induced hearing loss patients due to being unprotected in loud-level environments. 

Essentially anything that calls for safety glasses should include hearing protection as well. 

A formal audiology test can easily detect issues caused by noise-induced hearing loss, and with a proper plan developed with a patient, the damage can often be minimized or even eliminated through making changes in a person’s habits and lifestyle.

Construction workers, heavy equipment operators and others are not protecting their ears like they protect their eyes. Even something as mundane as mowing the lawn or using leaf blowers should be seen as a source that can damage healthy hearing over time.

Firing a gun is yet another big area of concern. At a shooting range, both protective plugs and muffs should be worn together. For hunting and in competitive shooting environments, electronic plugs and muffs should be worn. 

The ear’s hair cells literally become damaged. Hair cells are destroyed that once helped focus sound. Once the hairs are damaged, they don’t grow back. Damage can happen even in one unprotected event. 

Other occupations where hearing loss can happen as a result working without protection might surprise you.  These places include beauty salon operators, over-the-road truck drivers, school teachers and choir directors. And when it comes to kids, gamers and kids in band could be affected without realizing it.

Hearing loss can result from diseases like diabetes which shrinks the nerves around the cochlea and your heart, or ototoxicity, which comes from taking chemotherapy medication.

It’s important to keep your mind stimulated, to keep yourself in the game and to keep on top of your hearing health.

Experts agree the one hearing health measure that has the biggest effect on hearing is the level of importance people place on their hearing health. With or without hearing loss, it’s important to keep your hearing in check and to keep your ears protected. Assessing your daily activities and determining if there is more you could be doing proactively to guard against hearing loss is essential. 

Plus if you have a loved one with possible hearing loss the longer it is left unaddressed, the less can be done to prevent or treat the symptoms. The ears themselves are self-cleaning, but your hearing is not something to take for granted.