Your sense of hearing is important in your life and when it’s gone, there will be no natural way of getting it back. But for some reason, hearing loss frequently goes untreated and unchecked in the general population. In fact, permanent hearing loss affects one in every eight individuals (about 30 million people) 12 and older in the United States alone.
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 beginning to prevent avoidable hearing loss.
Safeguard your hearing with these five tips:
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 sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones come with them. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes can cause irreversible hearing loss. The better option would be to buy a set of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even more effective 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 each day.
Lower the volume
Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can damage your hearing. Loud noises from a TV or radio can do as much harm if you consistently listen to them over a sustained period of time. You’ll also want to steer clear of situations where loud noises are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. It may be impractical to entirely avoid these settings especially 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
If you have hobbies or work in a loud setting, it’s essential that you use hearing protection. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. Compare that to the following:
- The noise of a construction site can be above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
- At most 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 trip to an indoor shooting range
The takeaway here is that you should purchase some type of hearing protection like earmuffs or earplugs if you engage in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes you just need to give your ears a rest. 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. That means, you probably shouldn’t get into your car and begin blasting loud music right after you come out of a 3-hour concert.
Check your medicine
Your hearing may be significantly impacted by the medication you take. There are some medicines that have been proven to cause hearing loss including some heart and cancer medications, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. 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 at the same time making it easier to prevent.
Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.