Are You Practicing Healthy Hearing Habits?

Photo of an ear plug placed in a woman's ear canalOnce you lose your hearing, it’s gone for good. While there’s nothing you can do to reverse the symptoms of hearing loss, there’s plenty you can do to prevent them. Follow our tips below to practice healthy hearing habits.

Wear Earplugs

It is estimated that around 15% of Americans have some level of hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise during work or leisure activities. This condition is known as noise-induced hearing loss.

Within the inner ears are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that travels via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound. When dangerously loud sounds enter the ears, they damage or kill these cells, and the result is permanent hearing loss.

Whether you’re a construction worker, a concert aficionado or a person with a leaf blower, invest in hearing protection. Even sounds at 85 dB – about the volume of highway traffic – can cause permanent damage over time.

Turn Down the Volume

The World Health Organization reports that 1.1 billion teens and young adult across the globe are at risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits.

If you enjoy listening to music, podcasts or videos through headphones or earbuds, protect your ears with the 60/60 principle. This means you should listen at no more than 60% of the device’s maximum volume for no more the 60 minutes at a time.

Invest in New Headphones

The type of headphones you use can make an impact on your hearing health. Earbuds are especially dangerous, as they sit directly next to the eardrum. On-ear headphones can easily cause damage as well, since they tend to be low-fidelity, requiring you to crank up the volume in order to hear well.

Instead, consider purchasing noise-cancelling headphones, which will allow you to listen at a lower volume with greater clarity.

Stop Using Cotton Swabs

While it may be tempting to clean the ears with cotton swabs, doing so can result in permanent damage. The ears are self-cleaning, meaning wax works its way out as the jaw moves when chewing or talking. If your ears feel dirty, simply let the shower water run into them. If you have impacted earwax, schedule an appointment with a physician.

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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