Your ability to hear is precious – once it’s gone, the likelihood of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But curiously, the general public tends to ignore hearing loss. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 copes with neglected and permanent hearing loss.
While there are treatments that can help you get some hearing back, like hearing aids, it’s such an easy 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 have been packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest threats to hearing. These little devices sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones come with them. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at maximum volume for only 15 minutes can result in irreversible hearing loss. The better choice would be to buy a pair 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. Following the 60/60 rule, which recommends a maximum volume of 60% for no higher than 60 minutes a day, is another safety measure to protect your hearing.
Keep your volume down
Your hearing can be damaged by other things besides earbuds. If you routinely listen to the radio or TV at loud volumes over prolonged periods, your hearing can also be damaged. You’ll also want to steer clear of situations where loud sounds are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. Steering clear of these situations might only be possible 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.
Hearing protection will be helpful
If you have hobbies or work in a noisy setting, it’s essential that you make use of hearing protection. 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 above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
- The average firearm discharge clocks in at 149 decibels, which is multiplied and amplified over the course of a one hour visit to an indoor shooting range
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
The moral here is that you should purchase some type of hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs if you engage in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes giving your ears a break is the smartest thing you can do. If you engaged in any of the activities listed above, you should make certain to take some quiet time for yourself so your ears can rest and recover, even if you were wearing hearing protection. So after you leave a concert, you most likely shouldn’t jump into your car and crank music.
Check your medicine
Your medicine could actually have a significant effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to trigger hearing loss. Fortunately, medication related hearing loss normally only happens when more than one of these medications are taken together making it far less common.
Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.