Eating right and safeguarding your hearing have some parallels. It sounds smart, but not many of us have a very good concept of where to begin. This is particularly true if you don’t consider your daily environment to be especially noisy and there aren’t any noticeable dangers to your ears. But your ears and senses can be stressed by day-to-day living, so your auditory acuity can be preserved if you practice these tips.
If you want to continue to enjoy the sounds around you, you need to do everything you can to slow down the impairment of your hearing.
Tip 1: Wearable Hearing Protection
The most simple and practical way that you can safeguard your hearing is to protect your ears. This means taking basic steps to minimize the amount of loud and harmful noises you’re exposed to.
This means that when it’s needed most people will want to wear ear protection. Two general forms of protection are available:
- Ear Plugs, which are placed in the ear canal.
- Ear Muffs, which are put over the ears.
Neither form of hearing protection is inherently better than the other. Each type has its positive aspects. What’s essential is that you pick some hearing protection that you feel comfortable wearing.
Tip 2: When Sound Gets Dangerous, be Aware of It
But how can you be sure when to wear hearing protection? Noise that is painful is normally considered harmful. But honestly, noises can begin to damage your ears at a much lower level than you might expect. After just a couple hours, for example, the sounds of traffic are enough to injure your ears. An essential step in safeguarding your hearing, then, is recognizing when sound becomes dangerous.
Usually sounds become dangerous at the following thresholds:
- Over 100 dB: Your hearing can be very quickly damaged by this. Damage is done in about thirty seconds with sounds over this limit. As an example, jet engines and rock concerts will injure your hearing in 30 seconds.
- 85 decibels (dB): This volume of sound is dangerous after roughly two hours of exposure. Your hairdryer or a busy city street are both situations where you will find this volume of sound.
- 95-100 dB: This is about the noise level you’d get from farm equipment or the typical volume of your earbuds. After around 15-20 minutes this level of sound becomes hazardous.
Tip 3: Use Your Phone as a Sound Meter
Now that we have a general idea of what volume of noise might be harmful, we can take some steps to make sure we minimize our exposure. The trick is that, once you’re out and about in the real world, it can be hard to determine what’s too loud and what isn’t.
That’s where your smartphone can become a handy little tool. There are dozens of apps for iPhone, Android, and everything in between that turn your device’s microphone into a sound meter.
Having a live sound meter with you will help you evaluate everything you’re hearing in decibels, so you’ll have a far better idea of what hazardous levels actually sound like in your day-to-day life.
Tip 4: Keep Track of Your Volume Settings
The majority of people these days listen to music via their phone or smart device, and they normally use earbuds while they do it. Your hearing is put in danger with this setup. Your hearing can be considerably damaged if you keep your earbuds too loud over a long period of time.
So keeping an eye on the volume control means protecting your hearing. You should not increase the volume to drown out noises somewhere else. And we suggest using apps or settings to make sure that your volume doesn’t unintentionally become dangerously high.
If your hearing begins to decline, earbuds can become a negative feedback loop; you could find yourself consistently raising the volume of your earbuds so that you can compensate for your faltering hearing, and in the process doing more damage to your hearing.
Tip 5: Get Your Hearing Examined
You might think that having a hearing exam is something you do only when your hearing starts to wane. The problem is that it’s not always easy to identify a problem in your ears without a baseline to compare results to.
Generating data that can be used for both diagnostic purposes and for treatment can be best accomplished by scheduling a hearing test and screening. This will give you a little extra context for future hearing choices and ear protection.
Keep an Eye on Your Ears
In a perfect world, protecting your hearing would be something you could do continuously without any problem. But challenges are always going to be there. So whenever you can and as often as possible, protect your hearing. You should also have your hearing tested regularly. Hopefully, these tips will give you a good start.