Your ability to hear is valuable – once you lose it, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But curiously, the general public tends to ignore hearing loss. In fact, permanent hearing loss affects one out of eight people (nearly 30 million people) over the age of 12 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 start 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 as an accessory to most mobile devices going back to the first MP3 players in the early 2000s. Nearly 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 maximum volume for only 15 minutes can result in permanent hearing loss. Earmuff style headphones, particularly the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better choice. Following the 60/60 rule, which recommends a maximum volume of 60% for no more than 60 minutes a day, is another safety measure to safeguard your hearing.
Reduce 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 damaged. Shooting ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other loud settings should be avoided. Avoiding these scenarios might only happen in a perfect world, especially if you’re a construction worker or a musician. The next item on the list will be important if you’re in this situation.
Hearing protection will help
Hearing protection is crucial 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 trip to the indoor gun range, your ears are repeatedly exposed to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
- The noise of a construction site can be over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
The takeaway here is that you should invest in some type of hearing protection like earmuffs or earplugs if you take part in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes you simply need to give your ears a rest. Even if you wear hearing protection, if you are subjected to loud noises like these for prolonged periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears some time to rest. That means, you most likely 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 medicine may actually have a considerable effect on your hearing. There are some medicines that have been proven to cause hearing loss including certain heart and cancer medications, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. Luckily, medication associated hearing loss usually only happens when more than one of these medications are taken together making it far less common.
Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Make an appointment with us for a hearing assessment.