If you were struggling with high blood pressure or diabetes, of course you would take it seriously. However, in juxtaposition, it’s funny to observe that many people don’t prioritize their hearing health in quite the same way. Hearing loss has been historically underestimated and under treated. This is in part due to common misconceptions around its severity. What starts as simple misunderstandings and frequency of having to ask people to repeat themselves can quickly escalate into a wide host of issues.
This includes rifts in your relationships at home, at work impacting earnings and success, as well as in making new connections. These rifts in relationships can often lead to chronic depression and social isolation. You may even feel lonely even when surrounded by your loved ones. These side effects are incredibly serious and often overlap with other chronic conditions related to stress such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease. In addition, unaddressed hearing loss has been connected to higher risks of dementia as well as falls and accidents which lead to hospitalization. That said, it’s important if you have hearing loss to treat it. Then it’s important to take precautions to protect your hearing, so it doesn’t get worse. Here are a few tips to protect your hearing whether you do or don’t already have hearing loss.
Noise induced hearing loss occurs when sounds surpass safe listening thresholds. Its about the decibel level – the measurement for measuring loudness of sound – but also the length of exposure. For instance, the first threshold for noise where hearing damage begins is 85dB – but it takes 8 hours of constant exposure for that to occur. As the level creeps up the amount of time it takes for damage to occur quickly shrinks. Even if you work in a noisy workplace or enjoy noisy hobbies, you can protect your hearing by making sure to wear hearing protection. Earplugs and protective earmuffs can lower the decibel level anywhere between 15 and 33 decibels depending on the model. For those exposed to extremely loud noises, such as hunters, law enforcement and military, there are electronically powered hearing protection which block out high decibels such as explosions and gunfire, while allowing lower-level sounds to come through. When you monitor the levels of sound in your everyday environments you can anticipate and wear hearing protection to ensure a life of hearing clear.
Maintain A Low Volume
One of the greatest sources of sound damage comes from headphones and personal listening devices. This has been identified as one of the sole sources of noise induced hearing loss for a younger generation. According to the World Health Organization:
– 1.1 billion teens and young adults are at risk of noise induced hearing loss
– 50% of people, ages 12-35, are exposed to unsafe noise from personal audio devices
Headphones have the potential to send sounds to your ears at decibels as high as 110 dB, for hours on end. At this level of exposure, sound can damage your ears in under 15 minuets! However, by turning down the volume it can make all the difference. A general rule is that if someone next to you can hear your headphones, they are probably too loud. Keep the volume turned down to no louder than 60 percent of the available volume.
Take Listening Breaks
Another helpful tip is to make sure to take listening breaks. Because at a level of 95 dB, for instance, damage can occur in around an hour- by taking a listening break you can minimize your risk. Our ears need time to rest and recover from constantly absorbing and processing sound. Tiny hairlike cells in the inner ear are responsible for sending sound to the brain. When the vibrations become too loud for too long, they cells can shatter causing damage. By taking breaks you give the cells of your inner ear a chance to take a break and hopefully avoid permanent hearing loss in the process.
Get Hearing Tested Regularly
If you don’t know the status of your hearing health, it’s likely that you could put yourself at further risk. Getting your hearing tested regularly allows you to stay on top of your hearing health and identify any issues. The earlier you can intervene, the better to avoid the many often irreversible effects of hearing loss. Stay on top of your hearing health and schedule a hearing exam with us today.