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 sense of hearing is important in your life and when it’s gone, there will be no natural way of getting it back. But somehow, hearing loss frequently goes untreated and unchecked in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight individuals over the age of 12 suffer from untreated and irreversible hearing loss.

Protecting your hearing from the start 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.

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

Don’t use earbuds

Earbuds have been a mobile device accessory 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 most smartphones included them. You can get permanent hearing damage by listening to music or a movie 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 more effective if you can find a pair 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 per day.

Keep your volume down

Earbuds don’t produce the only sounds that can harm your hearing. Loud noises from a TV or radio can do as much harm if you regularly listen to them over a prolonged period of time. You’ll also want to avoid situations where loud sounds are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. It might be impractical to completely avoid these settings particularly 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 help

Hearing protection is a must 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. To put that in perspective:

  • Jackhammers at a construction site produce 130 decibels, which could take their toll after a 40-hour workweek
  • Over a one hour visit to the indoor gun range, your ears are repeatedly exposed to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
  • At most concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well above 120 decibels

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

Take auditory breaks

Sometimes you just need to give your ears a break. Even if you use ear protection, if you are subjected to loud noises like these for extended periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears a chance to rest. So after you leave a concert, you probably shouldn’t jump into your car and crank music.

Check your medicine

Your hearing could be significantly affected by the medication you use. There are certain medicines that have been proven to trigger hearing loss including certain heart and cancer medicines, aspirin, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicine. The good news is that medication-related hearing loss is not common and is more likely if you use two or more of those medications at the same time making it easier to prevent.

Are you suffering from hearing loss and want to find new treatment? Make 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.