It’s never too early (or too late) to begin healthy hearing habits! There are many environmental factors that contribute to long-term hearing loss. While hearing loss of any kind cannot be fully repaired, we can do our best to minimize ongoing loss and to amplify the hearing we do have.
The more you know about the sounds that negatively impact your hearing, the better equipped you will be to protect yourself. This will ensure that you will have a long life full of capturing the complex soundscapes that enhance our experiences in the world.
Protect Your Hearing from Exposure to Loud Noises
There are many things we do every day that can negatively impact our hearing, and we are not often even aware of how this is so. One big factor contributing to hearing loss has to do with using in-ear headphones (or “earbuds”) when listening to music. The combination of using in-ear headphones and listening at a high volume can have devastating, long-term effects on your hearing. These headphones place the sound far closer to your eardrum than over-ear headphones. To this end, it is very important to limit your use of these headphones to 60 minutes a day—and to maintain volume levels of 60% and lower (this level is approximately 85 decibels, which is about how loud city traffic is). Maintaining this 60/60 rule is very important to any healthy hearing regime.
Sometimes it is more difficult to limit our exposure to loud noises, especially if we work in loud environments or live in large, bustling cities. There are small-scale ways to protect your ears, however. If you work in a loud environment such as a factory or a place that uses heavy machinery or large equipment, you should purchase high-end earplugs. Cheap, one-time use earplugs will also be useful, but investing in comfortable plugs will make them feel less uncomfortable over time. You should also consider long term earplugs if you are a person who enjoys live music concerts—or, of course, if you yourself are in a band. If earplugs are not an option in these environments, just be sure to take regular breaks to limit your exposure.
We are often exposed to sudden loud noises that become so commonplace that we do not really respond to them or understand that there are ways we can protect ourselves from them. Most commonly, perhaps, are the loud noises produced by passing police cars or firetrucks. It is quick and easy to simply plug your ears when this happens—something to remember when passing by work sites, when surrounded by excited children, or when in other crowded environments.
Clean Your Ears!
Part of maintaining healthy hearing habits is simply maintaining clean ears. Ear wax buildup clogs your ear canal and impedes the ability of your eardrums to capture sounds. This buildup can be worsened by using cotton swabs (never insert objects smaller than your pinky into your ear). The best way to limit buildup is to incorporate over the counter ear drops into your bathing routine. These drops break up wax and allow you to easily rinse excess out.
Get Your Hearing Tested Annually
If you have identified the signs of hearing loss for yourself, you can practice the healthy hearing habits listed above – and also get your hearing tested annually. These are important habits to begin developing now as hearing loss can have unexpected consequences in your social life and the ways in which you communicate with your family. Hearing loss can also affect how you work. If you address the signs and symptoms of hearing loss now, you can slow the process down—or perhaps end it before it even begins.
You can continue to maintain healthy hearing habits even if you are already using
hearing assistance devices. Always be sure that your hearing aids are charged and not malfunctioning. It may be time to upgrade your hearing aid devices because the technology has changed since you first acquired the ones you use. It may also be time to explore new options simply because you could use a new or different fit. Keeping up to date with your hearing aids is essential to maintaining healthy hearing habits. To this end, visit us at Roseville Diagnostic Hearing Center for all of your hearing health needs. Our team will help you to keep practicing the tips and tricks of everyday hearing health.