Your ability to hear is precious – once you lose it, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But for some reason, hearing loss frequently goes neglected and unchecked in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 is dealing with neglected and permanent hearing loss.
Protecting your hearing from the start is the best and easiest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you currently have hearing loss you can recover much of your hearing with a hearing aid.
Here are five simple ways that you can protect your hearing:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds have been packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest threats to hearing. These little devices fit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones come with them. Listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at maximum volume for only 15 minutes can lead to irreversible hearing loss. The better option would be to buy a set of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even more effective if you can find a pair that has noise-canceling technology. Sticking to the 60/60 rule, which recommends a maximum volume of 60% for no more than 60 minutes per day, is another safety measure to safeguard your hearing.
Keep your volume low
Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can harm your hearing. Loud noises from a TV or radio can do as much damage if you consistently listen to them over a sustained period of time. Gun ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other noisy settings should be avoided. Avoiding these situations may only be possible in a perfect world, particularly if you’re a construction worker or a musician. If that’s the situation, then you’ll want to pay attention to the next item on the list.
Use hearing protection
If you have hobbies or work in a noisy environment, it’s crucial that you use hearing protection. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. To put that in perspective:
- At most concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
- The noise of a construction site can be above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours a week there
- Over a one hour trip to the indoor shooting range, your ears are repeatedly exposed to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
If you take part in any of these activities, you need to purchase a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes giving your ears a break is the smartest thing you can do. Even if you wear ear protection, if you are subjected to loud noises like these for extended periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears some time to recover. So after you leave a concert, you probably shouldn’t jump into your car and blast music.
Check your medicine
Your hearing could be substantially impacted by the medication you take. There are some medications that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including some heart and cancer medications, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. The good news is that medication-associated hearing loss isn’t common and is more likely if you use two or more of those medications together making it easier to prevent.
Are you suffering from hearing loss and want to seek out new treatment? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.