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 tends to go untreated and unchecked in the general population. In fact, permanent hearing loss impacts one in every eight individuals (about 30 million people) over the age of 12 in the United States alone.
Protecting your hearing from the beginning 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.
Here are five simple ways that you can protect your hearing:
Earbuds should be avoided
Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory since the early 2000s and are one of the greatest dangers to hearing. Nearly every smartphone available comes with a set of these little devices that sit snugly in your ear and pump sound straight into your ear canal. You can get irreversible hearing damage by listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes. The better choice 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 protect 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 harm if you regularly listen to them over a sustained period of time. Shooting ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other noisy settings should be avoided. It may be impractical to completely avoid these situations especially if they’re part of your job. The next item on the list will be significant if you’re in this situation.
Hearing protection will help
If you have hobbies or work in a loud environment, it’s essential that you utilize hearing protection. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. Compare that to the following:
- Jackhammers at a construction site generate 130 decibels, which could take their toll after a 40-hour workweek
- 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
- Most concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners commonly playing for about an hour and 20 minutes
The moral here is that you should get yourself some kind of hearing protection like earmuffs or earplugs if you take part in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes giving your ears a rest is the best thing you can do. If you participated in any of the activities listed above, you should make sure to take some quiet time to yourself so your ears can rest and recuperate, even if you were wearing ear protection. That means, you probably shouldn’t get into your car and begin blaring loud music right after you leave a 3-hour concert.
Check your medicine
Your hearing could be significantly affected by the medication you use. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medications have all been proven to trigger 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 find treatment for your hearing loss? Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.