Your ability to hear is precious – once you lose it, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But for some reason, hearing loss frequently goes untreated and unchecked in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight individuals over the age of 12 is dealing with neglected and permanent hearing loss.
While there are treatments that can help you regain your hearing, like hearing aids, it’s such a simple thing to protect your ears from the start to prevent unnecessary hearing loss.
Here are five simple ways that you can safeguard 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. These little devices fit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones included them. 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 option would be to buy a set of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even better if you can find a set that has noise-canceling technology. No matter what sound devices you use, you should follow the 60/60 rule – keep the volume at 60% maximum and only use the devices for 60 minutes per day.
Lower the volume
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. Shooting ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other noisy environments should be avoided. It may 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 take note of the next item on the list.
Utilize hearing protection
If you have hobbies or work in a loud environment, it’s crucial that you use hearing protection. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. Compare that to the following:
- 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
- Jackhammers at a construction site produce 130 decibels, which could take their toll after a 40-hour workweek
- At most concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
If you engage in any of these activities, you need to invest in a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
There are times you simply need to give your ears a break. Even if you wear ear protection, if you are subjected to loud noises like these for extended periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears a chance to recover. 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 considerable impact on your hearing. There are some medicines that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including some heart and cancer medications, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicine. The good news is that medication-associated 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 find treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.