Your ability to hear is valuable – 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 neglected and uncontrolled in the general population. As a matter of fact, permanent hearing loss affects one out of eight individuals (nearly 30 million people) 12 and older in the United States alone.
Protecting your hearing from the beginning is the best and easiest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you’re already experiencing hearing loss you can recover much of your hearing with a hearing aid.
Here are five easy ways that you can safeguard your hearing:
Earbuds should be avoided
Earbuds are one of the biggest dangers 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 sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and most smartphones included them. Listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at maximum volume for only 15 minutes can lead to irreversible hearing loss. Earmuff style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. 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.
Reduce the volume
Your hearing can be harmed by other things besides earbuds. Loud sounds from a radio or TV can do as much damage if you regularly listen to them over a prolonged period of time. Gun ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other noisy environments should be avoided. Avoiding these situations might only happen in a perfect world, especially if you’re a construction worker or a musician. 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 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 over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours a week there
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
- Over a one hour visit 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 invest in 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 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 recuperate, even if you were wearing 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 certain 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 isn’t common and is more likely if you use two or more of those medications together making it easier to prevent.
Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Make an appointment with us for a hearing test.