Your sense of hearing is essential in your life and when you lose it, there will be no natural way for it to return 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 people (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 currently have hearing loss you can get much of your hearing back with a hearing aid.
Here are five easy ways that you can protect your hearing:
Earbuds should be avoided
Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory since the early 2000s and are one of the greatest threats to hearing. These little devices sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound directly into the inner ear and most smartphones come with them. Listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes can result in permanent hearing loss. Earmuff style headphones, especially 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 every day.
Reduce the volume
Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can damage your hearing. Loud noises from a radio or TV can do as much harm if you consistently listen to them over a sustained period of time. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud sounds are constant, like construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. It might be impractical to completely avoid these situations especially if they’re part of your job. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to take note of the next item on the list.
Hearing protection will help
Hearing protection is a must if you work in an environment or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud noises. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. To put that in perspective:
- The noise of a construction site can be over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours a week there
- The majority of concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners usually playing for about an hour and 20 minutes
- Over a one hour trip to the indoor gun range, your ears are repeatedly subjected to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
If you participate in any of these activities, you need to purchase a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.
Take auditory breaks
There are times you just need to give your ears a break. Even if you wear 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. That means, you probably shouldn’t get into your car and begin blaring loud music right after you come out of a 3-hour concert.
Check your medicine
Your medicine may actually have a considerable impact on your hearing. There are certain medications that have been proven to cause hearing loss including some heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicine. Fortunately, medication associated hearing loss usually only happens when more than one of these medicines are taken together making it far less common.
Looking to get treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing exam.