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

Your sense of hearing is essential in your life and when you lose it, there will be no natural way of getting it back. But somehow, hearing loss tends to go neglected and unchecked in the general population. As a matter of fact, permanent hearing loss impacts 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 get some hearing back, like hearing aids, it’s such a simple thing to protect your ears from the start to prevent unnecessary hearing loss.

Here are five simple ways that you can safeguard your hearing:

Earbuds should be avoided

Earbuds have been packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest dangers to hearing. These little devices fit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound directly into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones included 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 better if you can find a set that has noise-canceling technology. No matter what sound devices you use, you should follow the 60/60 rule – keep the volume at 60% maximum and only use the devices for 60 minutes every day.

Reduce the volume

Your hearing can be damaged by other things besides earbuds. If you regularly listen to the radio or TV at high volumes over sustained periods, your hearing can also be damaged. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud sounds are constant, like construction zones, concerts, and shooting ranges. Steering clear of these situations might only be possible in a perfect world, particularly if you’re a construction worker or a musician. If that’s the situation, then you’ll want to take note of the next item on the list.

Hearing protection will help

Hearing protection is a must 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. Compare that to the following:

  • The average gunshot clocks in at 149 decibels, which is multiplied and amplified over the course of a one hour visit to an indoor gun range
  • Jackhammers at a construction site generate 130 decibels, which could cause significant harm after a 40-hour workweek
  • 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 like earmuffs or earplugs if you engage in any of these activities.

Take auditory breaks

Sometimes you just need to give your ears a rest. If you engaged in any of the activities listed above, you should make certain to take some quiet time to yourself so your ears can rest and recover, even if you were using ear protection. That means, you probably shouldn’t get into your car and start blasting loud music right after you come out of a 3-hour concert.

Check your medicine

Your medicine may actually have a substantial effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and certain heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to trigger hearing loss. Luckily, medication associated hearing loss usually only happens when more than one of these medicines are taken together making it much less common.

Looking to get 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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