How to protect your hearing
When you expose yourself to sounds that are more than 85 decibels, you may be putting your hearing at risk. Often, we’re risking our hearing without even realizing it.
Even a single moment of exposure to an intense sound can cause noise-induced hearing loss – and continuous exposure to loud sounds over time is dangerous as well. So it’s important to ensure that you protect your ears when in noisy environments.
Awareness, prevention and early diagnosis are the keys to combating noise-induced hearing loss. A good place to start is by taking a hearing test. Online hearing tests can give a good indication of whether you have anything to be worried about, but they’re no replacement for a professional assessment and diagnosis.
Always speak to your healthcare provider if you’re worried about your hearing. Some of the symptoms of hearing damage include:
- Difficulty hearing people when they speak at a normal level
- Asking people to speak louder or repeat what they’ve said
- Hearing muffled sounds
- Difficulty hearing in loud places
- Sensitivity to certain sounds
Another common symptom of hearing loss is tinnitus, a neurological condition that causes ringing in your ears, when there’s no actual sound present. It’s often caused by exposure to loud noises, and you may have experienced it after a loud concert. For some people, it’s a temporary condition while for others, tinnitus is a lifelong condition.
So, to avoid tinnitus and other forms of noise-induced hearing loss, here are some ways that you can protect yourself.
Turn the sound down
If you’re listening to music or watching television, consider whether you really need to have it at full blast. Can you turn the volume down? It should be loud enough that you’re not straining to hear, but not so loud that you can’t hear anything else over the volume of your music or TV show. If you’re struggling to hear the TV, then consider putting the subtitles on.
This is a particularly important consideration when listening to music or podcasts through headphones or earbuds. A 2017 study found that 80% of people between the ages of 13 and 18 years old use headphones to listen to music for 1 to 3 hours per day. If they’re listening to music at full volume, that could pose a serious risk to their hearing.
Remember that it’s not just the volume of sound, but also the length of time that you’re exposed to it that puts you at risk of hearing damage. So consider turning the sound down and reducing your listening time to save your ears. Over the head headphones may also be safer for your ears than listening to music using earbuds.
If you’re heading to a concert, working in a noisy environment, or are going to a fireworks display, wear earplugs. Earplugs designed for events ensure that you can still enjoy the experience while protecting your hearing.
When you wear a pair of earplugs like Loop Experience, you’ll get up to 18 db of noise reduction – and a further 5 db of protection when you add a Loop Mute. But they don’t block sound completely. Instead, they’re designed to filter sounds, so the sound quality is as crisp and clear as ever, just at a reduced volume.
Protecting your hearing when you work in a loud environment, whether you’re a musician or a construction worker, is especially important. Pop your earplugs in, then do your thing, without worrying about damaging your hearing when you’re just trying to do your job.