How to Prevent Hearing Loss
Do you work around machines, vehicles, or crowds of people? What may seem like a normal amount of noise to you could actually be causing irreversible damage and contributing to hearing loss.
For example, without proper ear protection, running a chain saw for only two minutes can be dangerous for your hearing. The louder the sound, the less time it takes to harm your hearing. Prolonged exposure to moderate levels of noise can also cause hearing loss.
The good news is there are reliable ways to prevent hearing loss. Devices specific to many professions and hobbies exist so that doing your job or enjoying your favorite activities won’t cost you your hearing. Most solutions are easy to use and comfortable to wear so you can incorporate hearing loss prevention into your daily routine.
Avoid exposure to loud sounds
Loud noises, especially high-pitched noises, are one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Preventing hearing loss starts with evaluating your daily life and determining whether you’re exposing your ears to damaging noise.
While it might not be feasible to completely avoid loud noises, anticipating situations where they might be damaging is the first step in preventing hearing loss. From gardening tools and heavy machinery to turning your earphones up past half-way, it’s surprisingly easy to overexpose your ears to loud noises. Even cruising with your windows down and your music up will affect your hearing over time. In general, you want to avoid being exposed to any noise 85 decibels or more for longer than an hour. Some intensities, like a gunshot or fireworks display, can cause hearing damage immediately.
Consider how loud these common sounds are:
- Sirens – 110 dB
- Concerts 110 – 115 dB
- Garbage truck – 100 dB
- The subway is 88 dB
- Gunfire 130 dB
- Average city traffic is 80 dB
Simple steps like using ear protection if you work in a noisy environment or wearing earplugs to a concert can make a big difference.
8 more unexpected ways to prevent hearing loss
Loud noise isn’t the only way to damage your hearing. Here are 8 additional things you can do to help prevent hearing loss.
- Don’t put anything in your ears that doesn’t belong there.
- Be careful cleaning your ears.
- Treat head and ear injuries immediately. What you do in the hours immediately after head trauma can dramatically affect your ability to hear later. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid excessive drinking.
- Get treated for high blood pressure.
- Use ear protection for concerts, fireworks displays, hunting, and other times when you think you might be exposed to loud noises.
- Maintain a heart-healthy diet. Diets designed to lower your blood pressure are also good for your ears.