Most of us give very little thought to healthy hearing. We assume that while it may start to deteriorate as we get older, it will last for a while yet. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Like the rest of us, our hearing needs some care and attention if we want to keep it healthy for our lifetimes.
Of course, sometimes, there’s nothing that we can do. While we can do our best to maintain and even improve our hearing, hearing loss is occasionally unavoidable. But, even then, the symptoms can be reduced with the help of hearing aids. Hearing loss certainly isn’t something that we have to live with, nor is it an inevitable part of aging.
HEALTHY HEARING – 5 WAYS TO AVOID HEARING LOSS
Here’s a look at some of the best things that you can do to maintain healthy hearing and keep your ears working well for your entire life.
It might sound strange because we hear all of the time, but if you want your hearing to remain at its best, it needs a workout, just like any other part of your body.
Practice listening, and give your hearing a workout by challenging yourself. Go outside on a quiet morning, and see what you can hear. At first, it might be nothing. But, push yourself to hear traffic in the distance and nature all around you.
Avoid Loud Noises
Our ears are designed to hear noises within a specific range. Anything over a certain level can be harmful and damage otherwise healthy hearing, especially if we’re exposed to it for a long time. It might surprise you to learn that the level at which sounds can become dangerous over time isn’t exceptionally high.
Noise levels are measured in decibels, of dB—the higher the dB, the louder the sound. Anything up to 85dB is comfortable for most people; over that, it can be harmful. To put that into perspective, normal speech is around 60 decibels. A loud motorbike is 90, music on full volume is around 110dB, and an airplane taking off 120 decibels.
Of course, staying away from loud noises isn’t always possible. You may work in an exceptionally loud environment, for example. In this case, you should make sure you have the appropriate PPE, in the form of noise-blocking headphones. If you don’t have access to these, speak to your employer.
Keep Your Ears Clean
Sometimes, cleaning your ears can do more harm than good, and you should never stick a cotton swab into the ear canal. Generally, just cleaning the outsides is enough. If you have a waxy build-up, soften the wax first, or see a physician for help, if it's too much. The physician will help you clean out built-up dirt and wax to help you maintain healthy hearing.
A couple of years ago my husband had so much build-up in his ear canal that our doctor had to flush it out after adding drops to his ears. It was really bad. There was a piece of buildup that was the size of a Tylenol pill that flushed out.
Take Care with Volume
Listening to very loud music can damage your hearing. Having the TV too loud can also do damage over time. Try to be sensible with volume. While headphones are nice to keep you focused, sometimes turning the volume too high can be more damaging than listening to the loud television. Headphones are closer to your eardrum and can cause it to vibrate more with the louder the music or sound gets, which can over time cause more damage.
Get Your Hearing Tested
If you’ve got any worries, or you notice changes, you should get your ears tested or looked at by an audiologist for help. Often, preventing hearing loss is about common sense. Be careful, avoid loud noises, and use the right protection when you can’t.
When you are getting your hearing checked, they will do a series of higher pitches or decibels and a series of lower. This is done to see the range at which your ears can hear. To do that, they put headphones over your ears, in a chamber that is completely soundproof. They