Are you someone who loves to listen to loud music through your headphones? Or, do you work in a noisy environment and don’t wear hearing protection? Well, you might be doing more damage to your hearing than you even realise. Hearing is one of the five senses that allow us to interact with our surroundings. Hearing enables us to enjoy music, the sounds of nature or words spoken by other people and is vital to our safety and spatial awareness – so let’s protect it!
Read on to learn more about how to take control and best protect your hearing.
1. Avoid exposure to excessive noise
Exposure to excessive noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. That’s why you should be vigilant when it comes to exposing yourself to loud noise. Loud, dangerous noise can hit you anywhere, including your work place, in traffic and even in your free time while enjoying the activities you love most. Examples of loud noise include loud music, listened to by either headphones, at concerts or clubs, heavy machinery or equipment, fireworks or airplanes, race cars at motorsport events – the list goes on. Though did you know that less obtrusive noises can also be harmful? For instance, home improvement equipment like gardening tools or nail guns – even a kitchen blender!
To better protect your hearing, you can implement the following preventative measures to protect yourself:
- Use hearing protection in noisy environments and work places, such as factories, construction sites or when trackside at an event;
- Avoid spending long periods of time in noisy indoor places;
- When attending shows, concerts or parties, stay away from the speakers;
- Avoid listening to loud music for long periods of time. When it comes to speakers, a volume of less than 80 decibels is ideal; and try not to music for more than 8 hours at a time.
2. Avoid using headphones for prolonged periods of time
Using headphones for several hours a day may permanently damage your hearing and cause tinnitus, headaches and irritability. This is due to the fact that your headphones produce high intensity sound waves inside your ear that are too much for the hearing cells responsible for sound absorption. This overload can cause injuries that in turn impair your hearing.
Did you know that 5% of all hearing loss cases can be attributed to the improper use of headphones? Make sure you follow these protective measures to help prevent problems resulting from the use of such devices:
- If possible, use headphones that cover your ears instead of the ones that sit inside your ear canal, as the sound waves are distributed more evenly, while the speakers are further away from your ear, reducing the volume of the waves reaching your inner ear;
- Avoid using headphones for more than one hour at a time and take a break every hour;
- Don’t exceed a volume of 60 decibels.
3. Clean your ears correctly
Although cleaning your ears with a cotton bud is regularly regarded as a healthy habit, their use can actually result in some serious hearing issues. The wax produced by glands in your ear is responsible for protecting your ear canal and prevents water, dirt and foreign objects from entering. This is why it must not be removed from the ear canal.
Cotton buds can also cause injuries during insertion that can result in infections, ear drum perforation and hearing loss.
For these reasons, the best way to clean your ears is to only clean the outside. Never insert any materials into your ear canal since your body is capable of discharging the wax inside on its own.
If your ear still requires cleaning, consult a hearing care professional who can clean them for you, or remove excess wax from your inner ear.
4. Visit your hearing care professional regularly
At first, many people don’t often realise they’re losing their hearing as the process can be a slow and quiet one. This tends to be the reason they wait too long before seeing a professional.
In fact, in many cases, hearing loss – if detected early – can often be treated, improving your quality of life and general health significantly. This is why it’s important you consult a hearing care professional at least once every year.
In addition to checking for any signs of hearing loss, a clinician can also examine your ears’ general health and diagnose possible infections, allergies and other types of structural injuries.
Early prevention of hearing loss plays a crucial role in the future of your physical and mental wellbeing and following these few tips can help keep your ears healthy!
Curious to know how good your hearing is? Take our online hearing test or visit us in clinic to talk more about the health of your ears with our friendly, professional team.