5 Steps To Healthy Hearing
According to the World Health Organisation 50% of hearing loss and impairment is avoidable with early detection, prevention and management. At Restored Hearing we have a vision of the world where there is no avoidable hearing damage and so we create products and raise awareness to make healthy hearing a priority and achievable goal for people the world over. We’ve put together a list of simple ways to look after your hearing.
1. Know how the ear works.
The first step in healthy hearing is awareness. The ear is a complex organ that can be easily damaged so it is incredibly useful to understand how it responds to different situations to prevent potential harm. Even a basic overview of the ear should give a good idea of what’s going on when you hear sound and what’s happening to the ear when it’s exposed to loud noise. There are lots of good sources of easy to understand explanations of how the different parts of the ear work and how they work together in the system to allow a person to hear.
2. Don’t stick things in your ear
The ear is sensitive and the ear drum in particular is delicate. The old saying ‘don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear’ is a good rule of thumb here. By using Q-tips or cotton buds or any small objects to clean or scratch the ear you are at a higher risk of perforating the eardrum. This is painful and can leave lasting damage to your hearing.
3. Wear hearing protection
Noisy environments are very high risk for hearing damage but they are also one of the situations in which it’s relatively straightforward to prevent hearing damage. These noisy environments could be at the workplace – air fields, building sites and factories are all culprits – or they could be recreational. People often don’t consider the damage that can occur when dancing in a nightclub or watching a live concert. While legislation requires employers to provide hearing protection above certain decibel levels this is not the case in music venues so hearing protection should be brought and worn there too. Depending on the situation different types of hearing protection are appropriate and convenient, for example you may not want to show up to a nightclub with a bright red pair of ear defenders but in this situation a small pair of earbuds will help avoid the reduced sensitivity to sounds and tinnitus that can occur.
4. Be aware of volume on personal music players
It’s easier than ever to be surrounded by sound and music throughout the day but with that comes a potential opportunity for hearing damage. The latest versions of MP3 players and iPods have a volume limit built in, enabling this feature prevents the device from going above noise levels that would be deemed dangerous. As a general rule of thumb, if the people around you can hear the music you’re playing through your device, it’s too loud. The volume level should be just a little above audible, but be aware of particularly noisy environments where the background noise is so great that even this moderate measurement produces music that is too loud. Your choice of headphones will also have an impact on the levels of sound your ears can withstand before they’re at risk of being damaged.
5. Get regular check ups
An important part of looking after your hearing is to get it regularly checked out by a medical professional. Having periodic check ups allows your doctors to track or spot any changes that may have occurred early on and so appropriate action can be taken. Audiograms give a measure of hearing sensitivity at a range of frequencies and tracking audiograms over a period of time may be particularly useful if you work in a noisy environment so any damage can be detected.