Your ability to hear is valuable – once you lose it, the likelihood of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But strangely, the general public tends to neglect hearing loss. In fact, permanent hearing loss affects one in every eight people (about 30 million people) over the age of 12 in the United States alone.
Protecting your hearing from the start is the best and simplest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you currently have hearing loss you can recover much of your hearing with a hearing aid.
Protect your hearing with these five tips:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds are one of the biggest perils to hearing health today since they’ve come packaged with mobile devices going back to the first MP3 devices in the early 2000s. These little devices sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and most smartphones come with them. You can get irreversible hearing damage by listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at max volume for just 15 minutes. The better option would be to buy a set of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even better if you can find a pair that has noise-canceling technology. No matter what devices you use, you should follow the 60/60 rule – keep the volume at 60% maximum and only use the devices for 60 minutes every day.
Lower the volume
Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can damage your hearing. 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 sounds are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. It may be impractical to entirely avoid these settings especially if they’re part of your job. If that’s the situation, then you’ll want to pay attention to the next item on the list.
Use hearing protection
Hearing protection is essential if you work in an environment or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud sounds. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. Compare that to the following:
- Over a one hour trip to the indoor shooting range, your ears are repeatedly subjected to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well above 120 decibels
- Jackhammers at a construction site produce 130 decibels, which could cause significant harm after a 40-hour workweek
The moral here is that you should get yourself some sort of hearing protection like earmuffs or earplugs if you engage in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
There are times you just need to give your ears a break. Even if you wear 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 rest. That means, you definitely shouldn’t get into your car and begin blasting loud music right after you leave a 3-hour concert.
Check your medicine
Your medicine could actually have a substantial effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and some heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to cause hearing loss. The good news is that medication-related hearing loss isn’t common and is more likely if you use two or more of those medications at the same time making it easier to prevent.
Are you coping with hearing loss and want to find new treatment? Make an appointment with us for a hearing test.