Hearing loss is a common — but not inevitable — part of people’s lives as they age. The modern world is a noisy place and it’s important to try and avoid the effects of hearing damage during our day-to-day lives. And while treatments for hearing loss are far more advanced than at any other time in history, prevention is still much better than the cure. That’s why we’ve assembled these tips on how to reduce hearing loss and how to take care of your hearing.
The good news, first of all, is that noise-induced hearing loss is largely preventable. And it doesn’t need to involve wearing ear muffs the whole time either. While you might want to wear hearing protection under certain circumstances, you can largely avoid damaging your hearing by setting safe listening levels and limiting your exposure times.
Earphones and hearing loss
One key example is with earphones and headphones; people often ask “Can earphones damage hearing?” and the short answer is “yes”. A 2010 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that as many as one in five teens in the United States have some form of hearing loss. Although there’s likely a number of contributing factors, it’s not hard to speculate that the rise of smartphones and listening devices probably hasn’t helped — and the number of such devices in circulation worldwide has only increased since the study was initially carried out.
A good rule of thumb is to set the volume on your listening device at half of the maximum volume or less. It’s also wise to limit your listening time to 60 minutes or less, to minimise the chances of damage — that’s how to stop earbuds from hurting your ears. This is particularly important for children, whose ears are still developing; hearing damage early in life can lead to other significant issues further down the line, including difficulties with academic performance (due to not being able to hear the teacher properly) and an increased likelihood of further deterioration at a young age.
How to prevent hearing loss in the workplace
The workplace is often another major contributing factor to workplace hearing loss. Although there are obvious candidates for hearing protection — such as building sites, in warehouses or factories — it’s also possible to be exposed to loud noises within office environments. Background music, computer servers, printers, phones and more can all be problematic in the wrong circumstances.
Downloading the SoundCheck app can be a useful way to determine whether your surrounding environment is too loud; if it is, then you should ensure that you speak to management to take steps to reduce the volume. Businesses have an obligation to provide a safe working environment and part of that includes ensuring that it’s not excessively loud.
Protecting your hearing is critical — even if you’ve already experienced some hearing loss, it’s far better to take steps to protect it now than to simply let it go. If you feel you need to make an appointment with a hearing professional, get in touch with Starkey today for more information on how.