Over 30 million people in the United States have some level of hearing loss. That number continues to grow every year. Now, you might think that most of it is old age hearing problems. The reality is that the fastest growing cause of hearing loss is loud noise exposure. Children are starting to show signs of hearing loss that once did not show up until middle age. You can see why it is important to protect your hearing.
Here are some ways to do that:
- In a situation with noise levels over 85dB continuous, take breaks. Loud noises that persist over time can lead to hearing loss. If you are at a concert or listening to loud music, get away from the noise periodically. Taking a 10 to 15 minute break gives your ears a break. It helps relieve the pressure and damage that the loud noises can do.
- Avoid situations where noise is so loud you have to raise your voice significantly just to be heard. When you get in this type of situation, you are likely in the 100dB range or higher. This range is dangerous because sustained exposure for more than a short time can lead to permanent damage.
- When you cannot avoid high noise situations, wear hearing protection. Simple ear plugs made of foam or silicone can protect your ears for a time. If you need to be in a high noise area for longer periods, use commercial grade noise protection to keep your hearing safe.
- Move away from speakers and amplifiers. When you are at a concert, most people like to be near the stage. That is where most of the amps and speakers sit. Standing in front of one of those devices without any ear protection can lead quickly to permanent damage.
- See a hearing specialist if you suspect you have hearing loss. If you have a doubt about your hearing, a specialist can test you and make a diagnosis. Knowing you are dealing with hearing loss will let you protect the rest of your hearing from further damage.
- Exercise. Wait, what? Exercise helps to protect hearing? Exercise helps elevate oxygen levels in the blood stream. Ongoing research seems to show that higher oxygen levels help prevent hearing loss.
- Lower the amount of caffeine and salt you take in. Caffeine restricts blood flow to the organs of the ear. Salt cause water retention. Both conditions mimic high blood pressure which has a direct link to some hearing loss.
- Keep your teeth healthy. For some reason not yet understood, the more natural teeth you have in old age the better your hearing will be. Brush and floss a couple times a day for best results.
These tips will help you keep your hearing healthy well into old age. Start with your children and make sure they develop great habits. Stop the bad habits you might have to keep your hearing. Pass the word to your friends and family. Protecting your hearing is important. You only have what you were born with. Keep what you have in good shape so you don’t have to worry in old age.
Tom Regev is a professional writer for the Total Hearing Care Westwood NJ branch.