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Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO

Woman protects her hearing with ear muffs while doing yardwork.

Safeguarding your hearing is a lot like eating right. It sounds good, but not many of us have a very good concept of where to begin. If there aren’t any obvious noise dangers and you don’t consider your daily environment to be especially noisy, this is especially true. But your ears and senses can be stressed by everyday living, so your auditory acuity can be preserved if you practice these tips.

If you want to keep enjoying the sounds around you, you need to do everything you can to impede down the impairment of your hearing.

Tip 1: Hearing Protection You Can Wear

The most simple and practical way that you can safeguard your ears is to protect your ears. This means taking basic steps to lessen the amount of loud and harmful noises you’re subjected to.

For most people, this will mean wearing hearing protection when it’s needed. Hearing protection generally comes in two basic forms:

  • Ear Muffs, which are placed over the ears.
  • Ear Plugs, which are put in the ear canal.

Neither form of hearing protection is inherently better than the other. There are benefits to each style. Your choice of hearing protection should, most importantly, feel comfortable.

Tip 2: Be Aware When Sound Becomes Dangerous

But when to use hearing protection is the question. We’re used to linking harmful noise with painful noise. But much lower levels of sound can injure your ears than you might realize. The sounds of traffic, for example, are loud enough to begin damaging your hearing after just a couple of hours. Recognizing when sound becomes harmful, then, is a vital step in protecting your hearing.

Usually sounds become harmful at the following levels:

  • 85 decibels (dB): This volume of sound is hazardous after roughly two hours of exposure. This is the volume of sound you’d expect from a busy city street or your hairdryer.
  • Over 100 dB: This is where you can injure your hearing very quickly. Injury is done in about thirty seconds with noises above this threshold. For example, rock concerts and jet engines will damage your ears in 30 seconds.
  • 95-100 dB: This is about the sound level you’d get from farm equipment or the normal volume of your earbuds. This volume of noise becomes damaging after 15-20 minutes.

Tip 3: Make Your Phone Into a Sound Meter

Now that we have a general understanding of what levels of sound could be dangerous, we can take some steps to ensure we minimize our exposure. But in day to day life, it can be challenging trying to gauge what is too loud and what isn’t.

Your smartphone can now be used as a handy little tool. There are dozens of apps for iPhone, Android, and everything in between that turn your device’s microphone into a sound meter.

Having a live sound meter with you will help you evaluate everything you’re hearing in decibels, so you’ll have a much better idea of what dangerous levels really sound like in your everyday life.

Tip 4: Monitor Your Volume Buttons

The majority of people today listen to music via their phone or smart device, and they normally use earbuds while they do it. This creates a risky scenario for your hearing. Your ears can be significantly damaged if you keep your earbuds too loud over a long period of time.

That’s why safeguarding your hearing means keeping a sharp eye on your volume management. In order to drown out sounds somewhere else, you should not raise the sound level. And we suggest using apps or settings to make sure that your volume doesn’t unintentionally become hazardously high.

If your hearing begins to wane, earbuds can become something of a negative feedback loop; in order to make up for your faltering hearing, you may find yourself constantly rising the volume of your earbuds, and in the process doing more damage to your ears.

Tip 5: Have Your Hearing Tested

You might think of a hearing exam as something you schedule when your hearing has already started to diminish. Without a baseline to compare results to, it’s not always easy to identify a problem in your hearing.

Scheduling a hearing screening or exam is a great way to come up with data that can be used for both treatment and analytic purposes, making certain that all of your future hearing (and hearing protection) choices have a little bit of added context and information.

Keep an Eye on Your Hearing

In an ideal world, protecting your hearing would be something you could do continuously without any difficulty. But there are always going to be obstacles. So protect your ears whenever you can, as often as possible. Also, get routine hearing examinations. Hopefully, these guidelines will give you a good start.

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