Your ability to hear is precious – once it’s gone, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But somehow, hearing loss tends to go neglected and unchecked in the general population. In fact, permanent hearing loss impacts one out of 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 easiest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you currently have hearing loss you can get much of your hearing back with a hearing aid.
Here are five easy ways that you can protect 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 devices in the early 2000s. Nearly every smartphone available comes with a set of these little devices that sit snugly in your ear and pump sound directly into your ear canal. You can get irreversible hearing damage by listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at max volume for only 15 minutes. Over the ear style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. Following the 60/60 rule, which suggests a maximum volume of 60% for no higher than 60 minutes per 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 radio or TV can do as much harm if you consistently listen to them over a prolonged period of time. Shooting ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other loud environments should be avoided. It may be impractical to completely avoid these situations particularly if they’re part of your job. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to pay attention to the next item on the list.
Utilize hearing protection
If you have hobbies or work in a loud setting, it’s essential that you make use of hearing protection. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. Compare that to the following:
- Most concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners usually playing for around an hour and 20 minutes
- The noise of a construction site can be above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours a week there
- Over a one hour trip to the indoor gun range, your ears are repeatedly exposed to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
If you engage in any of these activities, you need to purchase a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes giving your ears a break is the smartest thing you can do. If you participated in any of the activities listed above, you should make sure to take some quiet time for yourself so your ears can rest and recover, even if you were using hearing protection. 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 impact on your hearing. There are some medications that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including some heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. The good news is that medication-related hearing loss is not common and is more likely if you use two or more of those medications at the same time making it easier to prevent.
Looking to get treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.