Your ability to hear is valuable – once it’s gone, the likelihood of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But for some reason, hearing loss tends to go neglected and uncontrolled in the general population. As a matter of fact, permanent hearing loss affects one in every eight individuals (nearly 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’re already experiencing hearing loss you can recover much of your hearing with a hearing aid.
Here are five simple ways that you can safeguard your hearing:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds have been packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest threats to hearing. These little devices fit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound directly into the inner ear and most smartphones included them. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes can lead to permanent hearing loss. Over the ear style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better choice. Adhering to the 60/60 rule, which recommends a maximum volume of 60% for no higher than 60 minutes per day, is another safety measure to protect your hearing.
Keep your volume low
Earbuds don’t produce the only sounds that can harm your hearing. Loud sounds from a radio or TV can do as much damage if you consistently listen to them over a prolonged period of time. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud noises are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. It may be unrealistic to entirely avoid these settings particularly if they’re part of your job. The next item on the list will be important if you’re in this situation.
Utilize hearing protection
Hearing protection is a must if you work in an environment or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud noises. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. To put that in perspective:
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
- 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
- The noise of a construction site can be above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
If you take part in any of these activities, you need to get a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes you just need to give your ears a rest. If you participated in any of the activities listed above, you should make certain to take some quiet time for yourself so your ears can rest and recover, even if you were using hearing protection. That means, you most likely shouldn’t get into your car and start blasting loud music right after you leave a 3-hour concert.
Check your medicine
Your hearing may be substantially affected by the medication you take. There are some medications that have been proven to cause hearing loss including certain 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 take two or more of those medications together making it easier to prevent.
Are you coping with hearing loss and want to seek out new treatment? Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.