How To Prevent Hearing Damage And Ways To Preserve It

It’s a common misconception that hearing loss is inevitable and comes with old age. While that is partially correct, that does not mean that hearing damage can’t be caused by external factors at any point in your life. In fact, hearing damage can come in all shapes and sizes — from a major, one-time incident or gradual worsening over time. Hearing loss that’s onset by old age aside, it’s best to identify everyday ways you are harming your ears in order to preserve your good hearing capabilities for as long as possible. Let’s take a closer look.

Mind Those Decibels

Noise-induced hearing loss is certainly a real occurrence that not only reaches people at an older age but can impair you immediately if the noise is loud enough (on a decibel scale). For that reason, it’s important to start taking decibels into consideration related to the sounds around you. To put things into perspective, a whisper is about 30 decibels, a normal conversation is around 60 dB, the sound of a motorcycle is 90 dB, and so on. Direct exposure to a sound falling in the range of 120-140 dB may be enough to severely damage hearing at once, without possibility to regain it. That high decibel count is associated with sounds like an airplane taking off, a firecracker, and a gunshot. Sounds up to 70 dB have little to no likelihood of damaging your hearing, but consistent exposure to sounds above that number will have certain long-term effects.

Many high dB sounds actually come from everyday occurrences like an approaching train may produce 100 dB of noise and a leaf blower may produce around 80 dB. How do you avoid hearing damage if external stimuli are all around us? It’s inevitable to stray away from every single loud sound, but you can make sure you don’t expose your ears to those sounds with high decibels for a long period of time or directly close to your ear canal.

Keep Your Ears Dry & Clean

You also need to take care of your ears from a physical standpoint. An ear infection or other ear canal issues can spiral out of control if you don’t dry your ears well enough consistently. Those who are involved in swimming either in a pool, lake, or ocean frequently are most at risk of having water trapped in their ear canal, creating a warm hub for bacteria. Similarly, you may witness earwax blockage if you use ear cleaners often, pushing the earwax farther back into the canal. It may create the sense that your hearing has worsened but all you need is a professional earwax removal. If you don’t get your ears cleaned in that case, you may begin turning the volume up higher to hear better and end up actually damaging your hearing over time.

Get Your Hearing Tested

Your local hearing aid clinic undoubtedly offers hearing tests that you can sign up for or even see if the clinic offers an online testing option. ”How is a hearing test a form of hearing preservation?” you may ask. You might be making small lifestyle changes related to hearing loss and not be aware of it. For that reason, having your hearing checked by a professional audiologist can help you steer clear of worsening your hearing even further. Here are a few subtle indicators that you are experiencing gradual hearing loss for self-assessment:

      You frequently turn the volume of your computer, TV, or music up more and more each time or beyond the normal scale (~60-70% volume out of 100%).

      You find yourself asking others to repeat what they say often.

      You have difficulty hearing faint sounds clearly (wind, whispers, crickets…etc.)

      You appear to hear with one ear better than the other.

Take Hearing Breaks

Not only does the volume (in decibels) matter when it comes to hearing damage but the duration of exposure. One major, loud noise incident may be enough to strike your ears with serious hearing complications, but prolonged exposure to lower decibel sounds is just as impactful. For that reason, limit the duration of exposure to loud noises and take breaks in between activities such as listening to live music, riding a motorcycle, or working with power tools without proper hearing protection. Prolonged exposure to sounds that are ~75-80 decibels and more can already inflict damage, while sounds below that range are safe. This precaution is especially recommended for individuals who work in industries where exposure to loud noise is a regular occurrence.

Here are a few important considerations for you:

      After ~50 minutes of exposure to the sound of a motorcycle, hearing damage is apparent.

      After ~10 minutes of listening to loud music (such as during a concert) hearing loss is possible.

      After ~2 minutes of direct barking in the ear, hearing loss is possible.

      After ~2 hours of exposure to a lawnmower, hearing damage is apparent.

Be attentive to what your ears need and implement these daily habits.

Previous Post Next Post