Hearing is one of the basic five senses and is essential to communication. Without it, connecting with other people would definitely be more difficult. People with normal hearing cannot fully understand how devastating hearing loss can be unless it happens to them. You would lose the ability to enjoy things such as music, laughter, and conversations.
The good thing is you can easily protect your hearing if you follow a few basic precautions. The key thing you need to remember is to avoid loud noises. As a general rule, if one sound is drowning out all the others, or if your ears start to ring or hurt, you need to immediately wear hearing protection. You need to wear hearing protectors when working with a wood chipper, leaf blower, chainsaw, lawnmower, and when using household appliances such as a vacuum cleaner.
Hearing damage comes in many forms. Some manifest as temporary or permanent loss, while others learn how to deal with noise sensitivity. If you know you are going to be exposed to loud sounds, it pays to bring earmuffs or earplugs for protection.
Here are a few tips that will help you prevent hearing loss.
1. Keep the volume reasonable
If you regularly use earbuds or headphones while listening to music or podcast, make sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level. Many people turn the volume up to drown out other noises in the area, which only exacerbates the problem.
The average conversation volume is around 60 decibels, and the safe range for earbuds or headphones is 70-80 decibels. Any higher, and you put yourself at risk for hearing loss. Consider investing in noise-canceling headphones so you can better hear whatever you are listening to while keeping outside noise out.
2. Wear PPE when working in a loud environment
If you regularly use tools or machines that produce a loud noise, your employer is required to provide personal protective equipment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the government agency responsible for enforcing safe working conditions, people might not be exposed to noise above 90 decibels for longer than eight hours.
In industries where noise is a fact of life, companies are required to have programs that help prevent hearing loss among workers. This can include noise mitigation measures, mandatory hearing screening tests, periodic training, and hearing protection devices for all employees.
3. Get regular checkups
Only a medical doctor can ascertain whether your hearing has deteriorated, so it’s important to include a hearing test as part of your annual physical exam. People with hearing impairment also need to get their hearing checked on a regular basis. If your hearing is slowly degrading, it’s important to determine the causes. People who wear a hearing aid should also get their hearing aid reprogrammed annually.
4. Avoid smoking
Smoking causes a wide range of diseases including, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can also cause hearing loss. If you are a regular smoker, quitting will help slow down your hearing loss.
You should also avoid being around other smokers. Studies have shown that secondhand smoke can also cause hearing loss, so it can help to avoid places where smokers congregate. Since smoking acts as a vasoconstrictor, less blood flows to the ears, explaining why many smokers experience hearing loss.
5. Enjoy quiet time
Even if you keep the volume at a reasonable level, it’s important to give your ears some time to rest. Even if it’s not excessive, constant exposure to any noise can damage the hair cells in your ears. Whatever you listen to, allow your ears to rest for five minutes for every hour of listening. You should also avoid listening to music after going to a concert or a bar.
6. Avoid excess moisture
It’s important to keep your ears dry to prevent ear infections. Excess moisture can allow pathogens to enter the ear canal and cause infection. Make sure to dry your ears after swimming or showering. You can also use earplugs to seal your ears while swimming.
The bottom line
These are just some things you can do to prevent hearing loss. When it comes to ear health, it’s important to adopt a proactive approach to minimize the damage to your hearing. Make sure to visit your primary care provider if you’re experiencing ear pain or ringing.