5 Ways to Protect Your Hearing

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 it’s gone, the chance of getting it back in its natural form is slim to nil. But strangely, the general public tends to ignore hearing loss. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 suffer from neglected and irreversible hearing loss.

Protecting your hearing from the start is the best and simplest way to prevent hearing loss, but if you’re already experiencing 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 packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the greatest threats to hearing. These little devices fit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound directly into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones come with them. Listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at full volume for only 15 minutes can result in irreversible hearing loss. Earmuff style headphones, especially the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better option. 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 every day.

Keep your volume low

Your hearing can be damaged by other things besides earbuds. If you regularly listen to the TV or radio at high volumes over sustained periods, your hearing can also be harmed. 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 happen 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.

Use hearing protection

Hearing protection is crucial if you work in an environment 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 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
  • At the majority of concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well above 120 decibels
  • The noise of a construction site can be above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours a week there

If you engage 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. 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 recover. That means, you probably shouldn’t get into your car and begin blaring loud music right after you come out of a 3-hour concert.

Check your medicine

Your medicine could actually have a considerable effect on your hearing. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and some heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to trigger hearing loss. 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 together making it easier to prevent.

Looking to find treatment for your hearing loss? Schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test.

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.