Your sense of hearing is important in your life and when you lose it, there will be no natural way of getting it back. But curiously, the general public tends to neglect hearing loss. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 is dealing with untreated and irreversible hearing loss.
Protecting your hearing from the start is the best and easiest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you’re already experiencing hearing loss you can get much of your hearing back with a hearing aid.
Safeguard your hearing with these five tips:
Don’t use earbuds
Earbuds have been packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest threats to hearing. These little devices sit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound directly into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones come with them. You can get permanent hearing damage by listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at full volume for only 15 minutes. The better choice would be to buy a pair of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even more effective if you can find a pair that has noise-canceling technology. No matter what devices you use, you should follow the 60/60 rule – keep the volume at 60% maximum and only use the devices for 60 minutes per day.
Keep your volume down
Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can damage your hearing. Loud sounds from a TV or radio can do as much damage if you regularly 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 entirely avoid these situations especially if they’re part of your job. The next item on the list will be important if you’re in this situation.
Use hearing protection
If you have hobbies or work in a noisy environment, it’s crucial that you make use of hearing protection. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. Compare that to the following:
- Jackhammers at a construction site generate 130 decibels, which could cause significant harm after a 40-hour workweek
- 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
- Most concerts are between 100 and 120 decibels with headliners normally playing for around an hour and 20 minutes
The moral here is that you should get yourself some sort 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 best thing you can do. 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 a chance to rest. That means, you most likely shouldn’t get into your car and start blaring 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. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medications have all been proven to trigger hearing loss. Fortunately, medication related hearing loss normally only happens when more than one of these medications are taken together making it much less common.
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