A Quick Guide to Protecting Your Hearing

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a hand cupped to an ear

Taking care of your ears is important, and it’s never too early to start doing so. By being proactive about hearing protection, you can reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Given that NIHL from exposure to loud noises is not something that you can get back, taking steps now to protect your ears is very important.

Use earplugs

Do you work in a loud environment or enjoy recreational activities that surround you with noises that you must shout to be heard above? If so, then it’s best to wear earplugs. Lawnmowers, chainsaws and concerts are all sources of NIHL. Foam earplugs are one option. Alternatively, consider getting custom earplugs from a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) to lower the volume of sounds around you.

Allow recovery time

Just as your mind benefits from a rest, so do your ears. If you have been around a noisy environment for a lengthy time, such as a club, give your ears time to recover. After the event, allow your ears several hours of quiet time. Research shows that about 16 hours of calm is needed to recover from one loud evening.

Walk away from the noise

If possible, step away from the loud atmosphere for a few minutes every now and then. For example, go outside of the bar for five minutes to give your ears a break. Also, move further away from the sound source, such as the speaker at a music concert. You can still enjoy the songs without being close to the speaker that can potentially damage hair cells, nerves and other parts of the ear, contributing to NIHL.

Exercise for your hearing

The suggestion to exercise for hearing protection might come as a surprise to you. Cardio activities specifically get the blood pumping to all parts of the body, including the ears. Walking, running and biking are all examples of cardio exercises. This movement can help the various internal parts of your ears stay healthy and functioning at their best.

Pay attention to the volume

When possible, turn down the volume. If you host a party at home and play music, keep the volume at a level that enables people to talk to one another without raising their voices to be heard. Also, lower the noise level of your headphones, ideally keeping the volume at 60 percent or lower. Choose over-the-ear styles of headphones when possible, too, rather than earbuds that go close to the eardrum.

Avoid loud, noisy places

Another hearing protection tip is to avoid noisy places when it is possible to do so. For example, if you are extra sensitive to noise, then you might choose to go to the large supermarket at a time when it is less busy; call the store to find out what they consider to be the quietest time of the day.

If you worry about offending someone by turning down their invitation to go to a noisy event, practice how to respond to this type of situation. You might suggest an alternative activity that is kinder on your ears. Alternatively, you might decide to attend the event but wear hearing protection devices with you.

Change the way you clean your ears

If you currently use cotton swabs for your ears, you are not alone. It is a common way to try to clean the ear canal, however, it is not usually advisable. A bit of wax within the ear is fine and even a good thing as it helps to prevent dirt from entering the canal. Furthermore, putting anything small like that inside the ear canal risks damage to the eardrum. Instead, clean gently around the outer part of the canal with a wet towel. Another method is to use a special earwax removal solution nightly for a short period to encourage the wax to escape on its own.

Your hearing protection 

From using earplugs to allowing your ears time to rest or avoiding noisy situations altogether, there are many proactive ways to protect your hearing. If loud noises are not as bothersome as they once were, that is a sign that you have likely already lost a bit of your hearing.

If so, contact Nobile Hearing for a hearing test from a professional who can determine how best to remedy the issue, including getting fit for quality Nobile Hearing Aids, if needed. A baseline hearing test is also a good idea so that you can know and distinguish changes to the ears and hearing over the years. Reach out to us today at 239-772-8101 to find out more.