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You probably know that loud noises are dangerous to your hearing, and more than once you’ve left a music concert or a bar with an uncomfortable ringing in your ears. Maybe you’ve even experienced temporary hearing loss, and you left a baseball game feeling like all the sounds around you were muffled, or that your friends were mumbling. While we all know that loud sounds can hurt our ears, we don’t do enough to protect our ears, so here are 4 ways to protect your hearing.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Loud noise is very damaging to your hearing, but how loud is too loud? Sound is measured in decibels (dB), and any sound over 85 dB have the potential to harm your hearing. To give this some context, the sound of normal conversation is around 60 dB, a food blender or diesel truck are around 80 dB, a motorbike is 100 dB, and emergency sirens and fireworks are over 120 dB.
Hearing loss due to noise exposure can be sudden or gradual. If you’re standing next to a gun being fired, a sound that registers at 140 dB, you could experience sudden and permanent hearing loss. For sounds that are over 85 dB, like your noisy jobsite, an evening out dancing with friends, or even the commute to work, this prolonged exposure can damage your hearing.
Hearing loss is more common than you might think, and over 15% of adults report struggling to hear. The risks increase with age, and half of all seniors over the age of 75 have hearing loss. Protecting your hearing is extremely important, no matter your age.
Wear Hearing Protection
One of the most obvious ways to protect your hearing is to wear protective gear. Whenever you find yourself in a noisy environment, slip in a pair of foam earplugs. It’s a good idea to keep a few pairs in your bag so you’ll always be prepared. Do you work in a noisy environment? Wearing hearing protection should be at the top of your safety checklist. Not sure when you should be wearing earplugs? If you have to yell to speak to the person standing next to you, it’s too loud, and you’re both risking your hearing health.
Turn Down the Volume
Many of us spend hours every day plugged into our devices, listening to music on our way to work, at the office, or at the gym. What you might not know is that your listening practices could be damaging your hearing. At full volume, our devices can reach over 100 dB, and these sounds are blasted right into our ears. If you listen with earbuds for several hours a day, you risk your hearing health. We recommend following the 60/60 rule. Only listen for 60 minutes at a time, then take a break and give your ears a rest. And don’t turn the volume up higher than 60%, regardless of how much background noise is around you. Following this rule will protect your hearing, and help you listen safely.
Consider Custom Ear Molds
If you work in a noisy environment and wear earplugs all the time, or always have your earbuds in your ears, consider custom ear molds. These will increase comfort, as well as providing a better seal in your ears, blocking background noise, and reducing feedback or wind noise, and giving better hearing protection and a better music listening experience.
Schedule a Hearing Test
To protect your hearing, we recommend scheduling a hearing test. This will give you a clear picture of your hearing health, and allow you to monitor your hearing in the years to come. Protecting your hearing health isn’t just about wearing earplugs, but also about treating any hearing loss as soon as it appears. If you’ve never had a hearing test, call us today at Hearing Health in Portland to schedule a hearing test, and learn more about your hearing health.
Our team of hearing health specialists are committed to providing you the best in hearing care, and from your initial hearing test to choosing the perfect hearing aid, and making sure it’s fitting perfectly, we’ll help you protect your hearing, and make sure you’re hearing clearly.