Your sense of hearing is crucial in your life and when it’s gone, there will be no natural way of getting it back. But somehow, hearing loss frequently goes neglected and unchecked in the general population. In fact, permanent hearing loss affects one out of eight people (about 30 million people) 12 and older in the United States alone.
While there are treatments that can help you get some hearing back, like hearing aids, it’s such an easy thing to protect your ears from the beginning to prevent avoidable hearing loss.
Here are five easy ways that you can safeguard your hearing:
Earbuds should be avoided
Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest dangers 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 straight into your ear canal. You can get permanent hearing damage by listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at max volume for only 15 minutes. The better choice would be to buy a set of earmuff-style headphones that go over your ears, which is made even more effective if you can find a set that has noise-canceling technology. No matter what 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 per day.
Lower 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 sustained periods, your hearing can also be damaged. Gun ranges, concerts, construction zone, and other loud environments should be avoided. It may be impractical to entirely avoid these settings 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
Hearing protection is crucial if you work in a setting or enjoy hobbies that expose you to loud noises. 85 decibels over a period of 15 minutes is enough to cause hearing loss. Compare that to the following:
- The noise of a construction site can be over 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
- Over a one hour trip to the indoor shooting range, your ears are repeatedly exposed to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
- At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels
The moral here is that you should get yourself some kind of hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs if you take part in any of these activities.
Take auditory breaks
Sometimes you simply need to give your ears a break. Even if you wear hearing protection, if you are subjected to loud sounds like these for extended periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears some time to recover. So after you leave a concert, you probably shouldn’t jump into your car and blast music.
Check your medicine
Your medicine may actually have a substantial effect on your hearing. There are certain medicines that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including certain heart and cancer medications, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicine. The good news is that medication-associated hearing loss isn’t common and is more likely if you take two or more of those medications at the same time making it easier to prevent.
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