Three Ways to Protect Your Hearing
About 20 percent of people suffer some type of hearing loss. For those ages 65 and over, it increases to around 30 percent. Exposure to noise is the number one reason for hearing loss. However, there are some measures you can take to protect your hearing.
Use proper ear protection
If you work in a noisy environment, earplugs can protect your hearing. Earplugs have different ratings – the higher the decibel (dB) rating, the better protection from loud noises. Foam earplugs have a short lifespan so changing them regularly is a must. It’s also important to follow directions for proper insertion. Custom earplugs can provide maximum comfort and protection for those who must wear earplugs daily.
Some people prefer earmuffs to deaden noise. These resemble headphones with thicker padding around the ears and a tight fit. Earmuffs also have different levels of noise protection.
Earplugs and earmuffs aren’t only for those who work in noisy conditions. Activities such as attending a live concert can damage hearing. Consider using earplugs or earmuffs when mowing the lawn, using power tools, or any activity or chore that exposes you to loud noise.
Turn down the volume
It can be tempting to turn up the volume when listening to your favorite music, especially when wearing headphones. Don’t do it! Most earphones aren’t meant to block outside noise. If you can’t hear external sounds while wearing headphones, the music is too loud. If someone standing next to you can hear your music, it’s too loud.
Avoid using headsets for more than an hour and consider purchasing headphones that block out background noise. Earbuds don’t block ambient noise and can be dangerous because they sit so close to the eardrum.
Repeated exposure to loud music or video games, even without headphones, can lead to hearing loss. Don’t turn up the volume on your tablet and try to keep the TV volume at the same level as a normal conversation.
Have regular check-ups
Most people schedule annual eye exams, but don’t do the same for hearing tests. Your hearing is just as important as your vision, and it’s necessary to have regular check-ups. If you work in a noisy environment, it’s vital. A visit to an audiologist can help to detect early hearing loss. The earlier hearing loss is determined, the faster steps can be taken to prevent additional loss.
Hearing loss is not limited to older people. Personal audio devices contribute greatly to hearing loss in those under 30. When you’re exposed to a lot of high-volume sounds over a period of time, the cilia (hair cells in the inner ear) are damaged. That damage leads to hearing loss or deafness. Taking steps to protect your hearing is one of the most important things you can do for good health.