What Can You Do To Prevent Your Hearing Loss?

man's hand and ear

We tend to believe that hearing loss is something that inevitably happens as we get older. The aging process, we say, is the primary reason why we struggle to hear the sounds around us.

But research paints a different picture. Yes, aging is a major contributing factor to hearing loss, but it is not the only one. Many people have environmentally-induced hearing loss, meaning that something in their lifestyle generates the condition. Common causes include listening to loud music, working for long periods in noisy environments, and failing to wear hearing protection.

Fortunately, you can make changes to your lifestyle to prevent hearing loss and protect your ears for life. Here’s what you need to do:

Get your hearing tested

Getting your hearing tested is not just about a diagnosis. It is also about preventing any hearing loss you have right now from getting worse.

For instance, audiologists can recommend that you wear hearing aids. Hearing aids can sometimes slow down hearing loss by providing the brain and ears with the stimulation they require to function optimally. In many cases, patients who wear hearing aids find that their hearing improves considerably. The earlier you identify hearing loss, the more you can treat it and stop it from getting worse.

Wear hearing protection at work

People who work in clubs, airports, or on construction sites frequently experience loud noises. For instance, an aircraft jet engine can generate up to 140 decibels – substantially more than the 85 decibel safe upper limit for human ears.

Therefore, you must wear proper hearing protection at work: either earplugs or earmuffs. Earplugs and earmuffs will generally reduce the noise level reaching your inner ear by between 15 and 30 decibels. Always check the packaging to find out how much protection the product offers.

If you work in a noisy environment, most employers will provide you with hearing protection. However, even if you wear ear muffs or plugs, you should still seek ways to avoid exposing yourself to loud noises for long periods. Even with protection, you can still damage your ears.

Protect your hearing during concerts

Going to concerts is a lot of fun – particularly when you get to see your favorite artists up close and personal. Unfortunately, these events tend to be extremely loud. Many rock concerts, for example, can be more than 120 decibels close to the loudspeakers, putting your hearing at risk.

If you are at a concert, you can minimize the risk of hearing loss by standing away from the loudspeakers – at least 30 feet. You should also wear special hearing protection that reduces noise but does not muffle it. Finally, you can try taking a break every fifteen minutes or so if the option is available to you. That way, you can continue to enjoy the gig without risking your long-term health.

Avoid listening to loud music through earphones or headphones

Music sounds good, so many of us enjoy cranking up the volume as high as it will go. However, doing this can seriously damage your hearing. That’s because, unlike regular loud noises (like diggers on a construction site), music is pleasurable. Once we start listening to it, we want to enjoy it more and more. However, this prolonged exposure is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in many patients.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do about it. First, you can wear noise-canceling headphones. These block out ambient noise for you so that you do not have to raise the volume on your device. Second, you can take regular breaks and not listen to loud music for hours on end. Taking five-minute breaks can actually help your ears recover, ready for the next round of noise.

You can also make sure that you do not increase the volume on your device more than the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically, handsets will suggest that you keep the noise level below 60 percent of the maximum.

Avoid loud places

Loud noises are common in our society. However, if you want to avoid hearing loss, you should avoid them as much as possible.

Look out for certain sounds that indicate that the noise level is too high in your environment. For instance, if you find yourself shouting to talk to someone next to you, then your hearing is potentially at risk. Furthermore, if you notice pain or have a ringing in your ears, then find a way to leave the environment and go somewhere quieter.

If you would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please contact The Hearing Center at York ENT by calling (717) 850-9269.