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Tips on Preventing Hearing Loss

hearing loss

While you may not be able to completely prevent hearing loss from occurring, as it is often something that happens as we age, there are ways you can prevent hearing loss due to loud environments.

  1. Stay away from loud noise. Of course, this is the best way to prevent hearing loss that is noise-induced. How can you tell if it’s too loud?
    1. You have to speak louder when talking to others.
    2. You can’t hear what others are saying, particularly those in close proximity to you.
    3. Your ears are hurting.
    4. After exposure, your ears are ringing and/or your hearing is muffled.

Noise is measured in decibels; the higher the number, the louder the sound. Noise over 85dB is dangerous to your hearing, especially if endured for an extended amount of time. Whispering is 30dB, conversations are 60dB, traffic is 70-85dB, motorcycles are 90dB, music playing through headphones at full volume is 100-110dB, and a plane taking off is 120dB. If you’re curious as to what measurements certain sounds are, there are apps you can download on your smartphone.

  1. Be cautious when it comes to music. Invest in noise-canceling headphones, adjust the volume so you can hear the music comfortably, don’t turn the volume past 60%, and take five-minute breaks every hour if using headphones for several hours.
  2. Use protection during events and activities. When it comes to nightclubs, concerts, sporting events, etc., protect your ears. Don’t stand or sit close to speakers/amps, take 15-minute breaks from the sound, allow your hearing to recover for at least 18 hours afterward, and invest in earplugs for future events. Musician earplugs reduce the volume without muffling the sound and are often reusable.
  3. Wear the right gear at work. Many of us work in noisy environments, some throughout the entire shift. Talk to your HR department or manager and ask about safety precautions. They may switch to quieter equipment, they can utilize rules and guidelines that ensure you aren’t exposed for extended periods, and they can provide hearing protection (ear muffs, earplugs).
  4. Visit your doctor to test your hearing. If you’re worried you may be losing your ability to hear, visit your doctor and have him or her test your hearing. The earlier it is checked, the sooner something can be done about it if the loss is present. If you work in noisy environments, it’s not a bad idea to have your hearing checked on a regular basis.