One in four adult Americans has noise-induced hearing loss. That’s millions of cases of hearing loss that can be prevented. Thankfully, with proper hearing protection practices in place, you can both lower your chances of noised-induced hearing loss and age-related hearing loss farther down the road.
Your first step to avoid noise-induced hearing loss is to avoid loud sounds in general. Any noise that exceeds 85 decibels is too loud. It’s not exactly easy to determine whether or not a noise is 85 decibels or higher, so you have to use your best judgment. Do you have to raise your voice and practically yell to be heard while in the midst of a conversation? It’s probably too loud. Anything that physically hurts your ears is also too loud. That means you should play your music and your television at a healthy volume. The same goes for when you are wearing headphones.
If you aren’t able to avoid exposure to loud noise, or you’re someone who purposely subjects yourself to loud noises by willingly entering loud environments like concerts and sporting events, protection is the name of the game. Some people go to work every day and are exposed to loud noises. Even mowing your lawn and completing basic yard work with the assistance of tools like a weedwhacker or chainsaw can be too loud.
There are several hearing protection methods you can choose from, including ear plugs and earmuffs. Ear plugs can even be custom-made to fit your ears. The goal is to reduce the amount of noise reaching your ears, so if hearing protection doesn’t fit properly, it won’t be doing its job effectively. That also means that your hearing protection device is only good as long as it is worn consistently, not periodically or frequently removed. The earbuds or headphones you use to listen to music or podcasts are not a suitable substitute for properly-fitted ear plugs or ear muffs. Choose hearing protectors based on the level of noise you’ll be exposed to and comfortability for the environment you’ll be in. For instance, if you’re going to a concert, ear plugs are your better option.
One of the best ways to keep your hearing healthy is to get regular checkups. Far too often people go in for a regular physical, but they fail to get their hearing tested. When you get your hearing checked regularly, you’ll know how well your hearing is functioning and you’ll be able to treat any hearing loss early before it becomes a problem.