Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Generally noise induced hearing loss is also fully preventable, but not reversible. Once you’ve done the damage there is no way to get your hearing back. You only get 1 set of ears, remember to protect your hearing.
The effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually. Here are 6 ways to reduce the noise in your life.
Protect your Hearing
- Limit your exposure time to noisy activities. If you have to raise your voice over the noise to be heard by someone within arms reach, the noise is in the dangerous range.
- Wear hearing protection when you have to be around dangerous levels of noise. This includes concerts, sporting events, motorcycles, lawn mowers, gun shoots, leaf blowers, power saws and more. Foam or silicon earplugs cost less than a dollar at the drug store and they are small enough to be thrown in your purse or pocket, just in case you need to use them. If you frequently find yourself in noisy situations it would be wise to invest in higher quality ear protection whether it be earmuffs or custom made earplugs.
- Turn down the volume. On the television, radio, stereo, iPod etc. Doctors are becoming particularly worried about children and teens that listen to their music through ear buds at top volume. They should be taught to use the 60/60 rule: limiting the use of headphones to 60 minutes at a time and at 60 percent of the devices maximum volume. If you are frequently on the subway or an airplane and find yourself turning up the volume to tune out the noise around you, you should consider investing in noise cancelling headphones. These allow you to reduce ambient noise, thereby saving your ears from painfully loud music.
- Buy quieter products. Compare dB ratings of things like hairdryers and vacuum cleaners. The smaller the dB rating the better. It is also a good idea to try and reduce the number of noisy appliances you run at the same time.
- Take breaks from the noise. –Your ears need rest. Damage occurs from listening to LOUD sounds, but also from listening to loud sounds for a LONG time.
- Get your hearing checked. Most people wait 7 to 10 years before the seek help for their hearing loss. This only ends up causing additional damage. The sooner you know what is wrong the sooner you can get it treated and get back to your life. Your hearing loss may be the result of earwax or fluid in the ear. This is easily treated and hearing restored.
Since it’s so critical to protect your hearing, make sure that your family and friends are aware of the hazards. Remember: One-third of hearing loss is preventable with proper hearing protection.