In most cases, once you lose your hearing, it’s gone for good. In addition, research shows that hearing loss is associated with a wide range of health conditions and quality of life concerns, such as social withdrawal, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression and even cognitive decline. This is why practicing healthy hearing habits now is essential for your wellbeing.
Within the inner ear are delicate hair cells responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical impulses that travel via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as meaningful sound. Exposure to sounds over 85 dB – about the volume of highway traffic or a busy café – can cause irreversible damage to these hair cells, resulting in permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
If you work in a profession that exposes you to excessive noise – like military, construction, air traffic control or live theater – or if you enjoy noisy hobbies like attending concerts, shooting firearms or riding motorcycles, invest in earplugs, earmuffs or custom protection to preserve your delicate inner ear.
Keep the Volume Low
The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults around the world are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe headphone use. If you enjoy listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks or videos through headphones, make sure to follow the 60/60 rule. This means you should listen at no more than 60% of the device’s maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
Invest in Good Headphones
Along the same vein, the headphones you use can also make a difference in your hearing health. Earbuds purchased at the drug store can be extremely harmful because the speaker sits in the ear canal, right next to the eardrum. Inexpensive over-ear headphones are a better option, though they tend to be low-quality, causing users to crank up the volume when background noise is present. Ideally, you should invest in quality noise-cancelling headphones so you can hear easily at a safe volume.
For more information about practicing healthy hearing habits or to schedule an appointment with an expert to talk about custom hearing protection or a hearing test, call Topeka ENT today.