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 chance of getting it back in its natural form is not likely. But somehow, hearing loss frequently goes untreated and unchecked in the general population. In the US alone, one in eight people over the age of 12 suffer from untreated and irreversible hearing loss.

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:

Don’t use earbuds

Earbuds have been packaged with mobile devices since the early 2000s and are one of the biggest threats to hearing. These little devices fit snugly into the ear canal and pump sound straight into the inner ear and the majority of smartphones included them. You can get irreversible hearing damage by listening to music or a movie on your mobile device at full volume for just 15 minutes. Earmuff style headphones, especially the ones with noise canceling technology, would be a better choice. 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.

Lower the volume

Your hearing can be harmed by other things besides earbuds. If you regularly listen to the TV or radio at loud volumes over sustained periods, your hearing can also be damaged. You’ll also want to steer clear of situations where loud sounds are constant, such as construction zones, concerts, and firearm ranges. Steering clear of these situations may 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 essential 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:

  • Over a one hour visit to the indoor shooting range, your ears are repeatedly subjected to gunfire that clocks in at over 150 decibels on average
  • The noise of a construction site can be above 130 decibels and many workers spend 40 or more hours every week there
  • At most concerts the headlining band plays for up to two hours at well over 120 decibels

The takeaway 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 you simply need to give your ears a break. Even if you use ear protection, if you are subjected to loud sounds like these for prolonged periods, you should take some quiet breaks to give your ears some time to recover. So after you leave a concert, you most likely shouldn’t jump into your car and blast music.

Check your medicine

Your hearing may be substantially affected by the medication you use. Aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and some heart and cancer medicines have all been proven to cause 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.

Are you coping with hearing loss and want to seek out new treatment? 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.