Picture of sand in hourglassYou’ve noticed a little hearing loss lately, so is there anything you can do to fix that – like now? Hearing loss is a progressive condition, so there are really no quick fixes. This is especially true when the hearing loss is associated with aging.

About 14 percent of the population between the ages of 45 to 64 already reports some degree of hearing defect, according to the Center for Hearing and Communication, so what you are experiencing could be normal.

Back to the original question, what can you do to improve your hearing for that special night out or the upcoming big meeting? There are a few tricks you try to enhance your hearing ability short-term until you can look for a more permanent solution. They might not fix the problem but they can help get you through if you’re in a tight spot and need some healing power. Consider a few ways to boost your hearing in a pinch.

Bust Through the Build Up

If your hearing loss is relatively new, chances are your problem is earwax build up. The American Academy of Otolaryngology reports that about 12 million people each year go to their doctor with hearing problems only to find out they have excess ear wax in their canals. Wax can block the passage of sound waves into the inner ear, creating a significant hearing loss. Add a little water from your shower to the wax and you have a serious blockage.

Your best bet to clean your ears safely is to see your doctor. If you are strapped for time, though, you can use the DIY method. First, put the cotton swabs away. They don’t belong anywhere near your ears. Next, try placing just a few drops of mineral oil or a commercial ear cleaner product into the canal. Let the softening solution sit for a minute and then rinse your ear using lukewarm salt water and a syringe. Make sure the water is about the same temperature as your body to prevent dizziness. Afterward, put a couple drops of rubbing alcohol in the ear to dry up any remaining water and prevent an infection.

Deal With Those Allergies

Again, if your problem is a new thing, look for other possible causes than the basic age-related hearing loss. One likely answer is allergies. The tubes that help regulate ear pressure tend to swell shut when your sinuses are acting up. That means blocked sinuses due to an allergy or infection can temporarily leave you struggling to hear, too.

Unless you know you have a respiratory infection, the most logical answer is an allergy. Taking an antihistamine and decongestant might be enough to open up those tubes and get you hearing again.

Cut Back on the Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Specifically, lower your dose of any NSAIDs you might be taking daily for that achy back or creaky knees. NSAIDs such as Motrin, Advil or Aleve® can trigger tinnitus or ringing in the ears and that interferes with your ability to hear. Simply cutting back on them might be enough to restore your hearing for the day.

Make Technology Your Hearing Bedfellow

In today’s world of Bluetooth devices and phones that are smarter than most people, look to technology for a quick fix to your problem. There are apps out there that basically turn your phone into a directional microphone. Used in conjunction with an ear bud or a Bluetooth device, your phone can serve as a temporary sound amplifier.

Sound quality might be sketchy in some cases. It will really depend on the quality of your phone, app and hearing device. Even if it works, you can hardly walk around holding your phone out every you want sound clarity, so this is a very targeted solution to your problem. It will get you through that lecture or help you hear your grandchild’s must not miss band concert, though.

Anyone of these tips might be enough to improve your hearing, at least short-term, but they are not a substitution for going to the doctor and getting a proper diagnosis. Hearing loss is a gradual and degenerative process. The sooner you get treatment, the better your odds of avoiding further hearing complications. If you do find out you have a permanent reduction in your hearing, then consider how getting hearing aids can help improve the quality of your life without resorting to quick fixes.