Protecting your hearing is a lot like eating right. It’s difficult to know where to start even though it sounds like a smart idea. This is particularly true if you don’t consider your daily environment to be very noisy and there aren’t any obvious dangers to your ears. But everyday life can stress your ears and your senses, so your auditory acuity can be maintained if you practice these tips.
If you want to keep enjoying the sounds around you, you should do everything you can to slow down the degeneration of your hearing.
Tip 1: Ear Protection You Can Wear
The most simple and sensible way that you can safeguard your hearing is to protect your ears. This means taking basic actions to reduce the amount of loud and damaging noises you’re subjected to.
This means that when it’s required most people will want to wear hearing protection. Hearing protection normally comes in two basic forms:
- Ear Plugs, which are put in the ear canal.
- Ear Muffs, which are put over the ears.
Neither form of hearing protection is inherently better than the other. Each style has its benefits. Your choice of hearing protection should, most importantly, feel comfortable.
Tip 2: Be Aware When Sound Gets Dangerous
But how can you be sure when to wear hearing protection? Noise that is painful is commonly considered harmful. But much lower levels of sound can harm your ears than you might realize. The sounds of traffic, as an example, are loud enough to start damaging your hearing after just a couple of hours. A vital step in safeguarding your hearing, then, is recognizing when sound becomes dangerous.
Generally sounds become dangerous at the following thresholds:
- Over 100 dB: This is where you can damage your hearing very quickly. Damage is done in about thirty seconds with noises above this limit. Jet engines and rock concerts, for example, can injure your hearing in about thirty seconds.
- 85 decibels (dB): This level of sound is harmful after around two hours of exposure. This is the level of sound you’d expect from a busy city street or your hairdryer.
- 95-100 dB: This is about the noise level you’d get from farm equipment or the normal volume of your earbuds. After about 15-20 minutes this level of noise becomes harmful.
Tip 3: Turn Your Phone Into a Sound Meter
We can take precautions to minimize our exposure, now that we have an idea of what levels will be harmful. The trick is that, once you’re out and about in the real world, it can be challenging to determine what’s too loud and what isn’t.
Your smartphone can now be used as a handy little tool. There are dozens of apps for iPhone, Android, and everything in between that turn your device’s microphone into a sound meter.
In order to get an understanding of what hazardous levels of noise actually sound like, use your sound meter to confirm the decibel level of everything you are hearing.
Tip 4: Be Mindful of Your Volume Settings
A smartphone with earbuds is commonly the way people listen to music these days. This creates a dangerous scenario for your hearing. Over years of use, earbuds set to a sufficiently high volume can cause considerable injury to your ears.
That’s why safeguarding your ears means keeping a focused eye on your volume management. You should not increase the volume in order to drown out sounds somewhere else. And we suggest using apps or configurations to make sure that your volume doesn’t unintentionally become hazardously high.
Earbud use can become something of a negative feedback loop if your hearing starts to decline; you could find yourself consistently raising the volume of your earbuds so that you can compensate for your declining hearing, doing more damage to your ears in the process.
Tip 5: Get Your Hearing Checked
You may think of a hearing exam as something you get when your hearing has already begun to decline. Without a baseline to compare results to, it’s not always easy to detect a problem in your hearing.
Creating data that can be used for both diagnostic applications and for treatment can be best achieved by scheduling a hearing examination and screening. This will give you some extra context for future hearing choices and ear protection.
Pay Attention to Your Hearing
In a perfect world, protecting your hearing would be something you could do constantly without any problem. But challenges are will always be there. So anytime you can and as often as possible, safeguard your hearing. Also, get routine hearing exams. Hopefully, these tips will give you a good start.