Hearing Awareness Month: How to Care for Your Hearing
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May is Hearing Awareness Month! We all know sounds make life interesting and vibrant, but how do we keep our hearing safe?
Can you feel when you’re in danger of hearing loss?
It would be good if we could feel when our hearing was in danger. Unfortunately, there’s no reliable way to know for sure if you are in danger of hearing loss. However, there are some hearing loss warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Tinnitus. If your ears are ringing or whining after a loud event, it’s a clear indication they have been exposed to high volume sound. This can occur after a loud event such as a music concert, or going to the cinema, or even a fitness class.
2. You need to raise your voice to make yourself understood.
Tip: If you notice any of these warning signs, avoid loud noises until your hearing has returned to normal.
Are your headphones too loud?
It is important to keep the volume in your headphones down to a safe level. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the sound intensity produced in headsets can reach the same level as a rock concert. In fact, 1.1 billion young people worldwide are also at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
85 decibels are considered the highest safe exposure level for continuous noise. Above this level, hearing damage can occur.
Tip: Download a sound level app for your smartphone.
Safe listening isn’t just about volume. Duration matters too.
The maximum safe exposure time at 85 dB is eight hours. When sound levels get up above 85 dB – the level of a busy road – the amount of time that you are exposed to it starts to matter.
Once the sound level gets up to the 104 dB, as produced in some nightclubs and bars, and by some power tools such as chainsaws, it takes just 15 minutes before you are at risk of hearing damage.
Tip: When listening with earphones for long periods of time, be especially careful to ensure the volume level is safe.
4 ways to prevent hearing loss
Here’s some good news! Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. You simply need to stay aware of your noise exposure and minimize it whenever it approaches dangerous levels.
1. Use well-fitted earphones and noise cancelling headphones
Because a good fit stops sound leaking out, it allows you to hear your chosen audio clearly without having to turn the volume up towards dangerous levels.
2. Wear earplugs (and fit them correctly):
If you know you are going to be in a noisy place or doing a noisy activity, wear earplugs. Earplugs can help to reduce the level of exposure considerably.
3. Take listening breaks
Whether you’re at a loud venue or absorbing an audiobook, it’s a good idea to give your ears a rest from time to time. This reduces your continuous exposure and gives your ears a chance to recover.
4. Get regular hearing check-ups
A hearing test lets you see how you are hearing now. This gives you peace of mind and gives you insights into any listening challenges you may not be aware of. Regular hearing tests allow you and your Hearing Professional to track how your hearing develops over time and treat it appropriately.
You can find a nearby Hearing Professional and book a free appointment here or call 1-866-478-4393.
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