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 somehow, hearing loss frequently goes untreated and unchecked in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 is dealing with untreated and permanent hearing loss.
While there are treatments that can help you get some hearing back, like hearing aids, it’s such a simple thing to protect your ears from the beginning to prevent unnecessary hearing loss.
Here are five simple ways that you can protect your hearing:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory since the early 2000s and are one of the greatest threats to hearing. Nearly every smartphone on the market comes with a set of these little devices that sit snugly in your ear and pump sound straight into your ear canal. You can get permanent hearing damage by listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes. Earmuff style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. Following the 60/60 rule, which recommends a maximum volume of 60% for no higher than 60 minutes a day, is another safety measure to safeguard your hearing.
Lower the volume
Your hearing can be harmed by other things besides earbuds. If you routinely listen to the radio or TV at loud volumes over prolonged periods, your hearing can also be harmed. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud sounds are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. It may be impractical to completely avoid these environments especially 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.
Hearing protection will be helpful
Hearing protection is essential if you work in a setting or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud sounds. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. To put that in perspective:
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well above 120 decibels
- The average gunshot 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 over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours a week there
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 best thing you can do. Even if you use ear protection, if you are subjected to loud sounds like these for extended periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears some time to recover. So after you leave a concert, you most likely shouldn’t jump into your car and blast music.
Check your medicine
Your medicine could actually have a significant effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to cause hearing loss. 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 together making it easier to prevent.
Looking to get treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.