Worker sitting on a folding chair wearing a red plaid shirt and work overalls getting ready to put protective headphones on.

Your ability to hear is valuable – once you lose it, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But for some reason, hearing loss tends to go neglected and unchecked in the general population. As a matter of fact, permanent hearing loss affects one in every 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 easiest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you already have hearing loss you can recover much of your hearing with a hearing aid.

Safeguard your hearing with these five tips:

Don’t use earbuds

Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory 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 straight into the inner ear and most smartphones come with them. You can get irreversible hearing damage by listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at maximum volume for just 15 minutes. The better option would be to get a pair of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even better 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 each day.

Keep your volume low

Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can damage your hearing. If you regularly listen to the TV or radio at high volumes over prolonged periods, your hearing can also be damaged. Shooting ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other noisy settings should be avoided. 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 significant if you’re in this situation.

Hearing protection will be helpful

Hearing protection is a must if you work in an environment or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud sounds. Hearing loss can happen in just 15 minutes at 85 decibels. Compare that to the following:

  • At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well above 120 decibels
  • 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
  • Jackhammers at a construction site produce 130 decibels, which could take their toll after a 40-hour workweek

If you participate in any of these activities, you need to invest in a good set of earmuffs or earplugs.

Take auditory breaks

Sometimes giving your ears a rest is the smartest thing you can do. If you engaged in any of the activities listed above, you really should make sure to take some quiet time for yourself so your ears can rest and recover, even if you were wearing ear protection. That means, you most likely shouldn’t get into your car and start blasting loud music right after you leave 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 trigger hearing loss including certain heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. Luckily, medication related hearing loss normally only happens when more than one of these medications are taken together making it much less common.

Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Make an appointment with us for a hearing exam.

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Resources

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/how_does_loud_noise_cause_hearing_loss.html
https://armeddefense.org/hearing-protection
https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tf3092

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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