Avoid the risks of excessive noise exposure with these soft-spoken tips.
We experience many different sounds around us. Noise from sources like traffic, construction equipment, sirens, music, television, and people are part of everyday life. Though most of these sounds are safe, some can be too loud, too close, and/or last so long that they cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The effects of NIHL can occur suddenly or over time, can impact one or both ears, and can have either temporary or permanent effects.
While not all hearing loss is preventable, follow these tips to help protect against hearing loss in a noisy world:
- Avoid damaging noises
- Use hearing protection
- Turn down the volume
- Use sound detection apps
- Schedule routine hearing tests
Read on to learn more about how you can keep your ears safe.
1. Avoid damaging noises
One of the best ways to prevent hearing loss from noise is to avoid these damaging sounds as much as possible. You may want to alter your route to avoid construction sounds, choose quieter restaurants, or opt out of a live concert in favor of a calmer activity.
2. Use hearing protection
Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid damaging noise in our day-to-day lives. This is especially true for certain professions with environments that are known to be loud, such as construction workers, paramedics, and musicians. Yet even common sounds, such as a lawn mower, a jet overhead, or loudspeakers at a sporting event, can occasionally rise to the level of damaging. If you live or work in a noisy environment, protect your hearing with noise-blocking tools, like headphones, ear plugs, or ear muffs.
3. Turn down the volume
In addition to the noise that you might encounter during your typical day, the media you listen to on your headphones can also cause NIHL. If you want to prevent hearing loss from noise, make sure that you are playing music or television at a safe volume and limiting your listening hours.
4. Use sound detection apps
How loud is too loud? Gauging your exposure can help you know for certain. Sound measurement apps for your smartphone can help you track how much noise you are exposed to and for how long. Apps like NoiSee and SoundMeter can help you be more conscious of potential danger to your hearing so you can take preventative steps to avoid possible damage.
5. Schedule routine hearing tests
Another way to be proactive about hearing loss prevention is to get a regular hearing exam. Your audiologist can assess your hearing health and offer personalized advice for limiting noise exposure in your life.
The world is filled with both beautiful – and potentially harmful – sounds. But you can help to prevent noise-induced hearing loss with these simple tips. For more hearing protection tips, check out our visual guide of dos and don’ts when caring for your ear health here.