Your ability to hear is precious – once it’s gone, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But for some reason, hearing loss tends to go untreated and uncontrolled in the general population. As a matter of fact, permanent hearing loss impacts one out of eight people (nearly 30 million people) over the age of 12 in the United States alone.
Protecting your hearing from the beginning is the best and simplest 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 protect 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. Almost every smartphone available comes with a set of these little devices that sit snugly in your ear and pump sound directly into your ear canal. Listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at maximum volume for only 15 minutes can result in permanent hearing loss. Over the ear 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 each day.
Keep your volume down
Your hearing can be damaged by other things besides earbuds. 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 steer clear of situations where loud sounds are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. Steering clear of these situations may only happen in a perfect world, particularly if you’re a construction worker or a musician. If that’s the situation, then you’ll want to pay attention to the next item on the list.
Hearing protection will be helpful
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:
- The noise of a construction site can be over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
- Most concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners commonly playing for about an hour and 20 minutes
- The average gunshot clocks in at 149 decibels, which is multiplied and amplified over the course of a one hour trip to an indoor gun range
The takeaway here is that you should get yourself some type of hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs if you engage in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes giving your ears a rest is the smartest thing you can do. If you participated in any of the activities listed above, you should make sure to take some quiet time to yourself so your ears can rest and recover, even if you were using hearing protection. So after you leave a concert, you probably shouldn’t jump into your car and crank music.
Check your medicine
Your medicine may actually have a considerable effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medications 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 take two or more of those medications at the same time making it easier to prevent.
Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.