Are you one of the 1 in 8 people in the U.S. who suffer from hearing loss? It’s easy to underestimate how serious it is. What starts as simple misunderstandings during conversations can start to affect your emotional, cognitive, and physical health. At its root, issues with hearing affect your ability to communicate clearly with people in every part of your life as well as inhibit alertness in the world of audio ques. Unaddressed it can lead to rifts in relationships, feelings of depression, isolation, loneliness, higher rates of dementia later in life and an increased risk of falls and accidents, leading to hospitalizations. Due to the irreversible impact of hearing loss and it’s devastating affects it’s important to do what you can do to avoid hearing loss at any cost. Here are a few things you can do to avoid hearing loss and from keeping it getting out of hand in your life.
Wear Protective Gear
One of the most common sources of hearing loss comes from damaging levels of noise in your daily life. This can be at a job sight such as a construction sight or during recreation such as during a live concert or sporting event. The volume of sound is measured in decibels and any decibel which surpasses 85 dBA or higher has the potential to damage hearing permanently. It’s not just the level of exposure but the length. As level rises the time it takes for damage to occur becomes briefer. For instance, at 85 dBA, it takes 8 hours of consistent exposure for damage to occur, while at 95 dBA it only takes under an hour.
If you suspect the decibel level is too loud at work or while exploring your interests, its important to make sure to wear protective hearing gear. Foam earplugs can lower the decibels by 20 -30 dBA, putting your hearing in a safe range in many instances. Others who encounter noise on a frequent basis may want to invest in custom molded earplugs or over the ear protective earmuffs.
Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones
One of the largest sources of noise induced hearing loss is due to the use of headphones connected to personal listening players such as smartphones and Mp3 players. These devices can deliver sounds as high as 105 dBA, loud enough to damage hearing in 15 minutes or less. However, most people listen to headphones for hours on end, listening at dangerous levels and sustaining permanent hearing loss at early ages. Many listen in public settings to drown out other sounds around them. However, by doing this they risk turning the level up past safe listening levels. To combat this, it’s wise to invest in noise canceling headphones. These devices are ideal for anyone who listens in public or noisy places. Noise canceling technology detects the ambient level of sound around you and produces an inverted wave which actively cancels background noise from reaching your brain. This can help to avoid the urge to turn up the volume and save your precious hearing.
When listening to headphones it is still safe if you follow a few key safety procedures. First, it’s important to make sure the volume is turned up no louder than 60 percent of the available volume. The other recommendation is to take listening breaks every 30 minuets to an hour. This can give your ears a rest an allow them to recover.
Properly Clean Ears
Loud noise is not the only treat to our ears. Other risks include impact to the head, infection, certain medications, and even environmental toxins. Another source of damage comes from the misconception that cotton swabs are an ideal tool to clean ears. In truth, cotton swabs run the risk of pushing earwax and foreign debris deeper into your inner ear, causing an impaction and for sound to be blocked until it is properly cleared. Instead, if your ears are feeling full of wax, use a few drops of mineral oil to soften and then enjoy a hot shower. The earwax should come out on its own.
Have Hearing Checked Regularly
Hearing loss is permanent but the sooner you catch it the belter chance you have of avoiding associated side effects when you use hearing aids. To find out more, contact us today to set up a consultation!