Your ability to hear is valuable – once it’s gone, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But curiously, the general public tends to disregard hearing loss. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 is dealing with neglected and irreversible hearing loss.
While there are treatments that can help you regain your hearing, like hearing aids, it’s such a simple thing to protect your ears from the start to prevent avoidable hearing loss.
Here are five easy ways that you can safeguard your hearing:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds are one of the biggest threats to hearing health today since they’ve come packaged with mobile devices going back to the first MP3 players in the early 2000s. These little devices sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound directly into the inner ear and most smartphones included them. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at full volume for only 15 minutes can cause permanent hearing loss. Over the ear style headphones, especially the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. No matter what devices you use, you should stick to the 60/60 rule – keep the volume at 60% maximum and only use the devices for 60 minutes per day.
Reduce the volume
Your hearing can be damaged by other things besides earbuds. Loud sounds from a radio or TV can do as much harm if you consistently listen to them over a sustained period of time. You’ll also want to steer clear of situations where loud noises are constant, like construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. It might be impractical to entirely avoid these settings especially if they’re part of your job. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to take note of the next item on the list.
Use hearing protection
Hearing protection is a must if you work in a setting or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud sounds. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. To put that in perspective:
- Over a one hour visit to the indoor gun range, your ears are repeatedly exposed to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average.
- Most concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners commonly playing for about an hour and 20 minutes
- Jackhammers at a construction site generate 130 decibels, which could take their toll after a 40-hour workweek
If you engage in any of these activities, you need to get a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes you just need to give your ears a rest. Even if you use hearing protection, if you are subjected to loud sounds like these for extended periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears a chance to recover. That means, you probably shouldn’t get into your car and begin blaring loud music right after you come out of a 3-hour concert.
Check your medicine
Your hearing could be substantially affected by the medication you use. There are certain medications that have been proven to cause hearing loss including certain heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. Fortunately, medication associated hearing loss normally only happens when more than one of these medications are taken together making it much less common.
Are you coping with hearing loss and want to seek out new treatment? Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.