Your ability to hear is valuable – once you lose it, the likelihood of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But somehow, hearing loss frequently goes untreated 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.
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 start to prevent unnecessary hearing loss.
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 as an accessory to most mobile devices going back to the first MP3 devices in the early 2000s. Almost every smartphone on the market comes with a pair of these little devices that fit snugly in your ear and pump sound straight into your ear canal. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes can result in irreversible hearing loss. Earmuff style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. No matter what devices you use, you should stick to 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 harmed by other things besides earbuds. Loud noises from a TV or radio can do as much harm if you regularly listen to them over a prolonged period of time. You’ll also want to steer clear of situations where loud sounds are constant, like construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. Steering clear of these scenarios might only be possible in a perfect world, particularly if you’re a construction worker or a musician. 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 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:
- Over a one hour visit to the indoor gun range, your ears are repeatedly subjected to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
- The noise of a construction site can be above 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
The moral here is that you should get yourself some sort of hearing protection like earmuffs or earplugs if you engage in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
There are times you just need to give your ears a break. Even if you use ear protection, if you are subjected to loud noises like these for prolonged periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears a chance to rest. So after you leave a concert, you most likely shouldn’t jump into your car and blast music.
Check your medicine
Your hearing may be significantly affected by the medication you take. There are some medications that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including certain heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. The good news is that medication-associated 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? Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.