Your ability to hear is precious – once it’s gone, the likelihood 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 the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 copes with untreated and irreversible 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 protect your hearing:
Earbuds should be avoided
Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory since the early 2000s and are one of the greatest threats to hearing. Nearly every smartphone available comes with a set of these little devices that fit snugly in your ear and pump sound straight into your ear canal. You can get irreversible hearing damage by listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at max volume for just 15 minutes. Earmuff style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. 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 each day.
Keep your volume low
Your hearing can be damaged by other things besides earbuds. If you regularly listen to the radio or TV at high volumes over sustained periods, your hearing can also be damaged. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud sounds are constant, like construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. It might be unrealistic to completely avoid these environments 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.
Hearing protection will help
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 a week there
- Most concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners commonly playing for about an hour and 20 minutes
- 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
If you engage in any of these activities, you need to invest in a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes you simply need to give your ears a rest. If you participated in any of the activities listed above, you really should make certain to take some quiet time to 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 crank music.
Check your medicine
Your medicine could actually have a substantial effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to trigger hearing loss. The good news is that medication-related hearing loss isn’t 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? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.