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 precious – once it’s gone, the likelihood of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But for some reason, hearing loss tends to go neglected and uncontrolled in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight individuals over the age of 12 is dealing with untreated and irreversible hearing loss.

Protecting your hearing from the beginning is the best and simplest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you already have hearing loss you can get much of your hearing back with a hearing aid.

Protect your hearing with these five tips:

Earbuds should be avoided

Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest threats to hearing. Nearly every smartphone on the market comes with a set of these little devices that sit snugly in your ear and pump sound directly into your ear canal. You can get permanent hearing damage by listening to a movie or music on your mobile device at maximum volume for only 15 minutes. The better option would be to get a set 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 sound devices you use, you should stick to the 60/60 rule – keep the volume at 60% maximum and only use the devices for 60 minutes every day.

Keep your volume low

Earbuds don’t generate the only sounds that can harm your hearing. Loud sounds from a radio or TV can do as much damage if you consistently listen to them over a prolonged period of time. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud noises are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. Avoiding these situations might only be possible in a perfect world, especially if you’re a construction worker or a musician. The next item on the list will be significant if you’re in this situation.

Utilize hearing protection

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. To put that in perspective:

  • At most concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
  • Jackhammers at a construction site produce 130 decibels, which could cause significant harm after a 40-hour workweek
  • The average firearm discharge clocks in at 149 decibels, which is multiplied and amplified over the course of a one hour trip to an indoor gun range

The moral here is that you should purchase some sort of hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs if you take part in any of these activities.

Take auditory breaks

Sometimes giving your ears a break is the smartest thing you can do. Even if you use hearing protection, if you are subjected to loud sounds like these for prolonged periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears a chance to recover. So after you leave a concert, you probably shouldn’t jump into your car and crank music.

Check your medicine

Your medicine could actually have a significant impact on your hearing. There are certain medications that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including some heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicine. Luckily, medication related hearing loss usually only happens when more than one of these medicines are taken together making it far less common.

Are you coping with hearing loss and want to find new treatment? Schedule 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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