We buy home, life, and car insurance to protect ourselves against unforeseen loss and damages. But often no one bothers to protect their ears from unexpected noise damage. With 37.5 million American adults ages 18 and over reporting some level of hearing trouble, you would think people would take hearing protection more seriously.
To ensure better hearing in the later years of life, there are simple steps you can begin implementing today.
Receive Regular Hearing Exams
Starting with a complete hearing evaluation is essential. By doing so, you can establish a clear baseline for your current hearing. This baseline will allow you to see if your hearing protection steps are adequate or if further measures need to be taken.
A proper hearing exam will take around 30-40 minutes so your audiologist can gain a complete understanding of your hearing ability. Some of the tests performed at our audiology clinic include:
Distortion product otoacoustic emissions
Speech understanding and detection
Auditory brainstem response
Turn Down The Volume On Devices
When bombarded with sound, our hearing can become overwhelmed. Unfortunately, the reaction to this is to often crank the volume up. Continually increasing the volume levels on our devices, whether it be the TV, computer speakers, or mobile devices is a significant source of hearing damage.
In fact, due to the listening practices of the younger generations, it has been determined that 1 in 5 young adults (20-29) already have some level of hearing loss.
Now, your devices don’t have to be at the lowest level to keep your hearing intact. Here are two things you can try:
Start with the volume low, but not so low that you cannot hear. Your ears can become more sensitive to quiet sounds if you start to train them.
Keep the volume of your devices below 60% of the maximum volume. Beyond that threshold, the volume of the sound has the potential to damage your hearing.
Have Custom Ear Molds Made
Part of why people tend to turn the volume on their devices up too high is due to the poor fit of their earbuds. There is no standard fit earbud which will be comfortable for everyone’s ears, and the gaps where the earbuds don’t fit allows sound to escape.
When you choose to have custom ear molds made, you can enjoy a greater clarity of sound as well as a better soundproofing effect. Custom ear molds are usually inexpensive, and a qualified audiologist can help you select the best ones for your ears.
Use Hearing Protection Gear
Most of us are unsurprised that hearing protection should be worn around places such as construction sites. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has laid out clear rules for workplaces which might endanger the health of its employees. However, there are other equally loud environments which we may not consider a danger.
Airports, trains, and bus stations
Hunting or shooting
Leaf blowing and lawn mowing
Attending sporting events
Attending live musical performances can be particularly hard on your hearing. Many musicians have a high risk of developing hearing disorders such as tinnitus and hearing loss. If you are a regular concert attendee, you may want to consider having custom earplugs made. For other loud environments, you can easily purchase a pack of disposable earplugs to protect your hearing.
By implementing these simple hearing protection practices, you can better protect yourself from future hearing loss.