A Batemans Bay audiologist says there are 1282 people in town with undiagnosed hearing loss.
Laurena Chai says she is on a mission to improve the hearing health of residents.
“As well as having your hearing checked routinely every two years, there are a number of preventative behaviours we can all do to ensure we are preserving our hearing for future years,” she said.
She said there were many myths to bust when it came to hearing health:
1. “It’s not too loud.” Many people don’t realise the amount of noise it takes to harm hearing. Sounds above 85 decibels can be damaging to your ears over a prolonged period of time, and it’s advised to protect your ears if you’re constantly around these. To give perspective, a lawn mower is around 90 decibels and a food blender is around 88 decibels. If you work in loud places, protect your hearing to ensure you don’t set yourself up for hearing difficulties in the future.
Using cotton buds in your ears can lead to hearing loss or even a damaged ear canal or eardrum.Audiology professional Laurena Chai
2. Using cotton buds to clean your ears. This is the most common misconception when it comes to ear health. Using cotton buds in your ears is extremely dangerous as attempting to clean wax with them will only push the wax further into the ear. This can lead to hearing loss or even a damaged ear canal or eardrum. Audiology professional Laurena Chai says “If it’s smaller than your elbow, don’t put it in your ear unless directed by a professional!”
3. Looking after your ears inside and out. Forgetting to put sunblock on your ears is possibly one of the biggest oversights for most Australians and is highly important in our harsh conditions with strong UV rays. Your ears are as easily exposed and susceptible to sunburn and the development of cancerous lesions as any other part of your body. Many people don’t realise that looking after your ears includes the outside too!
4. It’s cool to listen to loud music on your headphones. Although attending loud festivals and streaming music loudly through headphones is a common trend, if it’s too loud it can be damaging to your hearing health. If someone else can hear music through your headphones, the volume is too loud!
5. “I haven’t noticed any changes to my hearing, so I don’t need a test”. As an adult, you should have your hearing tested every two years, particularly those over the age of 40. In Australia, it is estimated that just over 20 per cent of the adult population has hearing loss and this number grows to 50 per cent for those over 65 years of age. Hearing loss is a gradual thing – it can happen over several years and at first, most people don’t notice that they are missing out on certain sounds and words.
“If you work in a noisy place, listen to loud music for long periods or have noticed any changes to your hearing, book in a free 15-minute hearing check.”