According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, nearly one fifth of all Americans aged 12 and older have hearing loss so severe it makes communication difficult. The study specifically included men and women of all races and ages from geographic locations across the country to mimic the diversity of the country’s population. It is also worth noting that researchers discovered hearing loss prevalence nearly doubled with every age decade.
There are precautions you can take now to prevent future hearing loss. By implementing basic practices in your daily life, especially at a young age, there is an opportunity to harbor real change in the future of your hearing. A major factor in the past was working in loud workplaces and factories full of noise hazards. Now, less Americans work in loud offices and factories but are exposed to loud noise which is recreational. Hearing loss is increasingly impacting young people with regular exposure to music through headphones, noisy social locations, and concerts.
To improve your life in the long-run and preserve your hearing now, take the following precautions while listening to music, television shows, and more:
- Use Earplugs – If you are exposed to loud noise on a regular basis, especially at work, take precautions to protect your ears by using earplugs or ear muffs. Many of the noise reducing headphones on the market now are highly effective in eliminating sounds.
- Use Earplugs at Concerts – Concerts are much louder than the noise levels you need to experience to hear and enjoy the songs. Instead of damaging your ears, use earplugs during concerts so you can still hear the show without the noise blasting in your ears.
- Wear Old-School Headphones – Instead of using ear buds that come with most music players and phones nowadays, when listening to music or television use retro headphones that are muff-style. They are better at drowning out background noise so you do not have to turn up the volume so high.
- Use the 60:60 Rule – When you are listening to music, follow a simple and easy to remember rule that is popular in the hearing field. Listen to your music at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day. This rule has been embraced in the European Union so much so that all new devices sold in the EU come with a ‘smart listening’ feature.
- Invest in Smarter Products – Whenever you find yourself in the market for a new phone or music player, make sensible purchases that have features to help your hearing.
- Turn Down the Volume – When watching TV after work or listening to music through speakers, make an effort to turn down the volume ever one or two clicks. When you are talking you should not have to raise your voice to be heard above the sound of the television.
- Adjust the Volume during Commercials – The volume on commercials from your local markets can be significantly louder than the volume during the television program you are watching. Instead of listening to blasting noise you do not care about anyway, get into the habit of turning down the volume during any commercial breaks.
- Enjoy the Silence of the Car – Instead of listening to loud music on your commute to and from work and school, enjoy silence in your car ride. You can decompress from the noises you had to listen to all day while also decreasing the risk of hearing damage by eliminating loud music in the car.
- Talk to Your HR Department – If the noise level in your workplace is too loud, you should talk to your HR department. They can provide you with hearing protection you need to function in the workplace and may be able to lower the noise level you experience in the workplace.
- Schedule Regular Hearing Checkups – The process of losing your hearing is slow and steady. You may not notice the deterioration of your hearing. Having a medical record of your hearing will note minor and rapid changes between the years. According to the National Institute of Health, “Noise-induced hearing loss may happen slowly over time or suddenly. Being exposed to everyday noises can lead to hearing loss over several years.”
- Treat Ear Infections and Sinus Infections Promptly – When you are sick, seek medical care for your sinus and ear infections. A problem you have as a child, teenager, or young adult can impact your hearing for a lifetime. Thorough treatment of any stuffiness in your head makes you feel better and protects your hearing.
- Recover from Loud Experiences – Your brain and body needs time to decompress after being in a loud place. If you come home with your ears ringing, do not expose yourself to further noise.
- Pay Attention to Hearing Risks with Certain Medication – There are certain medications which can be dangerous to your hearing. Be sure to ask your doctor before you take any medication about common risks associated with the medicine. In many cases there is another prescription for the same condition with a lower risk factor.
A great rule of thumb to remember for your hearing is if you cannot talk to someone only six feet away without yelling at them, then the noise is too loud and can be potentially damaging to the ears. When you go somewhere and hear ringing in your ears after you leave, it was too loud in that place.
Also Read : 5 Shocking Ways to Lose Your Hearing
All too often, hearing loss especially in elderly patients is confused with changes in personality. A very treatable condition may appear as increased levels of confusion, acting aloof, or getting frustrated in a manner outside normal behavior. You do not need to find yourself among the group of adults that needs hearing aids when you can prevent the deterioration of your hearing starting right now.
Since you are committed to preserving your hearing in the long-run, you can create significant change for the rest of your life. If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with Dr. Light.
He is a double board-certified physician in Otolaryngology and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Light is uniquely qualified to treat ear, nose, and throat conditions with a specific emphasis on medical and surgical treatment of ear disease. To schedule your first appointment, contact Dr. Light’s office today at 561-737-8584 or visit online at luis.creativamotions.com/drligth.