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Unique Occupations with Hearing Risks

Man with hearing protection at work

When we think about the importance of protecting ourselves from noise induced hearing loss, the occupations that come to mind most often are ones such as concert venue employees, construction workers, factory workers, sports professionals, musicians, miners, etc.
What may be surprising, however, is to learn about all of the jobs that may be just as dangerous to your hearing health, or even more so since most people in these occupations don’t realize they need to protect their ears too.
Here’s a list of some unique occupations that may pose a risk to your hearing.
Preschool Teacher
According to a study conducted by the University of Gothenburg, seven out of ten female preschool teachers deal with auditory fatigue as a result of sound exposure, four out of ten become hypersensitive to noise, and half have difficulty understanding speech. This statistic is higher than what’s found in more expected noise-exposed occupational groups.
Hair Stylist
Although exposure to noises emanating from hair dryers, clippers, blow dryers, body massagers, nail filers, etc. may be intermittent, the repeated exposure to these devices have resulted in growing observations of hearing loss in this bustling industry.
Many of these machines emit noises above the recommended 85-decibel limit, inducing mild to moderate hearing loss that begins to present symptoms within five to ten years of exposure after enough of the cochlea’s hairlike cells responsible for auditory signal transmission become damaged.
Gardener
Yes, even gardeners may be exposed to hearing damage, but not in the way you might expect. Knowledge about the dangers of outdoor landscaping equipment such as lawn mowers and weed whackers is already abundant, and most landscapers take the proper precautions. But physical damage can also occur in atypical ways, such as injury caused by plants such as the Yucca plant.
These popular decorative landscaping plants with long spiky leaves have become more than just a nuisance, as hospital visits as a result of spiking the ear and piercing the eardrum have been reported, sometimes resulting in permanent hearing loss.
Chemist
Risk of hearing loss to chemists and others working in the chemical industry is real and often unexpected. It isn’t the noise that’s causing the damage. It’s the exposure to harmful chemicals that have caused damage to hearing. Compounds containing lead, toluene, n-butyl alcohol and carbon monoxide all have a propensity for inducing hearing loss.
Don’t take your hearing health for granted. The most important step you can take to protect your hearing is to look at your own occupation and the hearing risks that come with the job. You may notice sounds you’re consistently exposed to that you hadn’t noticed before.
Taking the proper precautions to mitigate unnecessary exposure to high decibel noise will go a long way in protecting your hearing health. There may be other risks besides noise exposure that can lead to hearing loss, too. If you have any questions about your profession and its exposure to noise, please don’t hesitate to call our office to talk to a hearing health professional today.

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What's Behind the Clogged Ear Feeling

man holding his ears in discomfort

Summertime at the pool or the beach is time well spent. But, it doesn’t come without its disadvantages. The risk of sunburn is at the top of the list of annoyances, but clogged ears from trapped water comes in a close second. That feeling like your ears are clogged after spending a lot of time in the water can be one of the most irritating feelings, and often takes a while to go away.
But you don’t have to just be a swimmer to experience the feeling of clogged ears. That stuffy ear experience can happen as a result of other conditions too and could be an indicator of more serious issues if left untreated.
Here are some of the most common causes behind that clogged ear feeling, and what you can do about them:
Trapped Fluid
Fluid that becomes trapped in the ear as a result of swimming or ear infection can become very painful, especially if it gets behind the eardrum into the middle ear.  Although plenty of earwax in the ear works hard to keep water out, sometimes water sneaks in, especially if a lot of time is spent in the pool or other types of water.
Typically the body will relieve the issue on its own and the fluid will eventually drain. But, if it does not and you are experiencing severe pain or consistent discharge that lasts more than a day, call the doctor and get it checked out.
In the meantime, if you feel water has creeped into your ear during your last swim, tilt your head, and pull down on your earlobe for a while to help water flow back out. You may also need to help open up your eustachian tubes to let water trapped behind the eardrum drain. Try using a warm compress to assist in that, or yawn repeatedly, chew gum, or breathe deeply.
Earwax Buildup
Earwax can occasionally build up, causing that irritating clogged feeling. But, earwax buildup can also cause earaches, ringing in the ear (called Tinnitus), itchy ears, discharge, odor, hearing loss, and coughing.
Normally you shouldn’t need to do anything about earwax, because it takes care of itself and makes its way out of the ear when needed. But sometimes, it builds up and needs to be removed with some help. Never attempt to remove earwax on your own, especially if that involves inserting anything at all into your ear canal. You can run the very real risk of puncturing or damaging your eardrum by doing this.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Leaving your ears unprotected to noise levels above 85 decibels will cause damage to your inner ear over time, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss. Noise exposure for longer than a brief moment, such as a loud concert venue or a party may leave you with a feeling your ears are clogged, or an annoying ringing in your ears.
This may be temporary and fade away within a day or two. But, repeated exposure is certain to cause some degree of hearing loss. Protect yourself in advance by wearing earplugs when you’re involved in any loud activities.
If you’re experiencing a clogged or stuffy feeling in your ears that just won’t go away, please don’t hesitate to call our office today to talk to a hearing health professional.