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We often treat age related hearing loss as part of the normal aging process. And we should, as many of our systems undergo significant changes as we age. However, there are steps we can take to mitigate the damage we do to our auditory systems, thereby reducing the level of harm we contribute. In an age where so many of the sounds we encounter are controlled by a knob, dial or volume control that we oversee, there is no reason to proceed without caution!
Whether you suspect you are in the beginning stages of hearing loss, have worn hearing aids for years, or are lucky enough to have perfectly normal hearing, there are a few simple steps you can take to preserve the hearing levels you’re currently at.
Hearing is a nonrenewable resource
Your hearing is a precious resource. We don’t always give it the weight it deserves. Even small amounts of hearing loss can have tremendous impact on your quality of life. Hearing difficulties tend to make communication less easeful and can send people into isolating behaviors. It can also lead to declines in feelings of self-confidence. These instances of isolation or low self-confidence can ultimately lead to depression, making protecting the hearing health we currently have even more important.
Even more significant, age related or noise induced hearing loss is often irreparable. While we can treat hearing loss now more successfully than ever before, we cannot return damaged hearing to its previous, perfect state.
Turn down your volumes
There is a particular joy in driving along with the windows down and the stereo cranked up. This isn’t to say that we can’t ever be so carefree again, but do practice moderation when making volume choices. Take note of what levels feel comfortable in your car, perhaps when you have a passenger along with you and can comfortably make conversation over the stereo noise. This is a healthy hearing level. When you’re alone and you find the volume creeping upwards, take a moment to think of your ears and return it to a safe level. Over the long run, a too-loud stereo could do real harm!
This advisory extends towards your personal listening devices. Every time you plug your headphones into your phone, iPod, laptop or tablet, try to sustain the lowest possible volume that you can still hear comfortably without straining.
Monitor your listening environments
There are a number of everyday activities you probably participate in without thinking about the accompany damage you’re doing to your ears. Commonplace tasks like mowing the lawn, or daily necessities like walking near loud traffic or construction sites, are all doing minor but lasting damage to your ears.
Certainly, we can’t ask you to stop mowing your lawn, but what about wearing protective earphones when you do? That’s a small change that could make an impactful difference in maintaining your hearing health. If your morning walk is marred by a construction site, consider changing your route for a little while.
Every minor adjustment you make begins by noticing what environments you’re subjecting your hearing to. So as a first step, spend a week just paying attention to the noise situations you’re surrounded by. You’ll probably be surprised to find that you suffer through unnecessary loudness in situations that you could easily change!
Invest in protection
A good set of custom earplugs can cost a lot, particularly if you’re investing in advanced technology and fancy packaging. There’s no shame in that if it gets you make the investment and wear them regularly! However, a cheap set of earplugs available at most pharmacies and drug stores only costs a few dollars and can partly lower your dangerous noise exposure. These are a great option if you’re on your way to a concert or other loud event. They’re handy to bring along when you’re traveling, too, because you’re less likely to anticipate what situations you’ll find yourself in.
And don’t be afraid to walk away if a noisy situation becomes too overwhelming. If a concert or movie experience becomes too loud, take a few minutes to yourself and find a quiet place. The same goes for noisy work environments. Sometimes all you need is a few quiet moments to recalibrate.
An annual hearing test is a great way to keep tabs on your hearing abilities. Contact us at Advanced Tech Hearing to schedule a test today.