Your sense of hearing is crucial in your life and when you lose it, there will be no natural way of getting it back. But for some reason, hearing loss frequently goes neglected and uncontrolled in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight individuals over the age of 12 is dealing with neglected and irreversible hearing loss.
While there are treatments that can help you get some hearing back, like hearing aids, it’s such a simple thing to protect your ears from the start to prevent avoidable hearing loss.
Here are five simple ways that you can safeguard your hearing:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds are one of the biggest dangers to hearing health today since they’ve come packaged with mobile devices going back to the first MP3 devices in the early 2000s. Almost every smartphone on the market comes with a pair of these little devices that sit snugly in your ear and pump sound directly into your ear canal. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at maximum volume for only 15 minutes can lead to irreversible hearing loss. Over the ear style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better choice. Adhering to the 60/60 rule, which recommends a maximum volume of 60% for no more than 60 minutes a day, is another safety measure to safeguard your hearing.
Lower the volume
Your hearing can be harmed by other things besides earbuds. Loud sounds from a TV or radio can do as much damage if you regularly listen to them over a prolonged period of time. You’ll also want to steer clear of situations where loud sounds are constant, like construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. Avoiding these scenarios might only happen in a perfect world, particularly if you’re a construction worker or a musician. The next item on the list will be important if you’re in this situation.
Utilize hearing protection
Hearing protection is a must if you work in a setting or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud noises. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. Compare that to the following:
- The noise of a construction site can be over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
- The average gunshot clocks in at 149 decibels, which is multiplied and amplified over the course of a one hour visit to an indoor shooting range
- The majority of concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners usually playing for about an hour and 20 minutes
If you engage in any of these activities, you need to get a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
There are times you just need to give your ears a break. Even if you use hearing protection, if you are subjected to loud noises like these for prolonged 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 medicine may 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 is not common and is more likely if you take two or more of those medications at the same time making it easier to prevent.
Looking to get treatment for your hearing loss? Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.