There is currently no effective way to prevent congenital or genetic hearing loss. However, hearing screening for newborns can help ensure that hearing loss in young babies is detected and when possible, treated at the earliest possible stage.
Certain types of hearing loss may be prevented with the following:
Wear ear protection when you will be exposed to loud noises.
Wear head protection when you are participating in activities that could result in head injury.
If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about prenatal care that may protect your baby from hearing loss.
Certain medications may contribute to hearing loss. For example, some antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs can damage the ear. High doses of aspirin can also increase the risk of temporary hearing loss or ringing in the ear. Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of these medications.
Smoke may act as a toxin, harm blood flow to the cochlea, or change blood consistency. Decreasing or quitting smoking may prevent or delay age-related hearing loss.
Washing your hands often can help prevent colds and flu, which can increase the risk of ear infections and lead to long-term hearing loss. This is especially important for children.
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 such as meningitis.
It may be possible to slow age-related hearing loss in elderly persons through proper nutrition and dietary changes.
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.
Hearing loss. NIH SeniorHealth website. Available at: http://nihseniorhealth.gov/hearingloss/hearinglossdefined/01.html. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Noise and hearing protection. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/noise-and-hearing-protection. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Noise-induced hearing loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/noise.aspx. Updated May 15, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Palmer KT, Griffin MJ, et al. Cigarette smoking, occupational exposure to noise, and self reported hearing difficulties. Occup Environ Med. 2004;61(4):340-344.
1/24/2007 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com: Durga J, Verhoef P, et al. Effects of folic acid supplementation on hearing in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Int Med. 2007;146(1):1-9.
Last reviewed September 2017 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 11/8/2017