“Can You Hear Me Now?” 3 Lesser-Known Ways of Protecting Your Hearing

“Can You Hear Me Now?” 3 Lesser-Known Ways of Protecting Your Hearing

It’s a common misconception that hearing loss only affects people of an older age. In fact, any person of any age — including children and adults — are at risk for hearing damage.

So, how can you protect your hearing in such a noisy world? Avoiding events like rock concerts and fireworks shows are some of the most common methods of protection, but what else can be done?

Knowing how to protect your hearing is vital to prolonged ear health. Here are some lesser-known ways to protect your ears:

Quit Smoking

Did you know smoking can lead to hearing loss? Most people are aware of the detrimental effects of tobacco but often overlook the potential for hearing problems.

The main culprit is the reason for your cigarette addiction — nicotine. It turns out, nicotine affects the neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve responsible for relaying sounds to your brain. This type of damage can eventually lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.
Additionally, increased tobacco in your system leads to constriction of the blood vessels, including those in your inner ears. This harms the hair cells in your ears in charge of transporting sound to your brain, known as stereocilia. Once the hair cells are damaged, your hearing is as well.
While hearing loss is the most significant blow to the auditory system, smoking can also cause middle-ear infections. Second-hand smoke poses a risk to your hearing as well.

Learn How to Protect Your Hearing From Everyday Sounds

Fireworks and loud concerts are two of the most damaging scenarios for your hearing, but what about common, everyday noises?

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Loudness is measured in decibels (dB), and the CDC states that over time, any sound that is 85 decibels or higher can cause some degree of hearing loss. Some of the everyday sounds that can break the 85dB barrier include:

  • Lawnmower: 80-100 dB
  • Movie theater: 70-104 dB
  • Headphones: 96-110 dB
  • Sirens: 100-129 dB
  • Motorcycle: 80-110 dB
  • Live sporting events: 94-110 dB
  • Factory machinery: 100 db+

How to Protect Your Ears

You may not think a common chore like mowing the lawn affects hearing loss, but prolonged exposure has the potential. You can protect your ears by wearing noise-canceling headphones while doing yard work. They can also be worn at sporting events. Motorcycle riders should wear regular earplugs (and a helmet, of course) while driving.
When it comes to headphones, 5 in 10 young people are listening to music too loudly. Simply lowering headphone volume is an effective way to protect yourself from hearing loss.
What about factory workers? The United States Department of Labor requires all employers to implement a Hearing Conservation Program. They should measure noise levels and limit exposure to equipment louder than 85 dB. In addition to providing hearing protection and annual hearing exams, acoustic blankets (insulation) can help reduce sound levels as much as 10-15 dB.

Avoid Overuse of OTC Medication

Over-the-counter medications are not often associated with hearing damage, but they should be. There are over 200 different medications that have been linked to hearing loss and tinnitus, including ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and antibiotics. If

These types of drugs are known as ototoxic medications, which literally means toxic to the ear. It’s imperative to stick to the recommended dosage when it comes to ear-damaging drugs.

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If you’re regularly taking an ototoxic medication, it is necessary to learn the early signs of hearing damage, including a ringing or buzzing in your ear, dizziness, or difficulty hearing in large crowds.

Read About More Ways to Protect Your Health

Knowing how to protect your hearing is essential to your ear health, no matter what your age.

If you’re looking to learn more ways to improve your health, whether it’s your teeth, mental health, fitness, or overall wellness, be sure to check out the rest of our articles in the health section. Taking care of yourself should be a top priority!

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