Protecting Your Hearing
Once your hearing is gone, it’s gone for good. In addition to manufacturing innovative products to help hearing loss, we also raise awareness about the prevalence of hearing loss, the importance of early diagnosis, and the options for taking action to find the best hearing solution for your needs. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start taking care of your ears! Here are five easy ways to protect your ears and your hearing health.
1. Use earplugs around loud noises
Approximately 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments.
Clubs, concerts, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and any other noises that force you to shout so the person next to you can hear your voice all create dangerous levels of sound.
Musicians’ earplugs are custom earplugs with filters that allow a person to hear conversations and music but still reduce harmful sound levels while maintaining the quality of the original sound.
2. Turn the volume down
According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe use of audio devices.
If you like to enjoy music through headphones or earbuds, you can protect your ears by following the 60/60 rule. The suggestion is to listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
Earbuds are especially dangerous, as they fit directly next to the eardrum. If possible, opt for over-the-ear headphones.
3. Stop using cotton swabs
It’s common for people to use cotton swabs to clean wax out of their ear canal, but this is definitely not advisable. A little bit of wax in your ears is not only normal, but it’s also essential. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal. Plus, inserting anything inside your ear canals risks damaging sensitive organs like your eardrum.
4. Keep your ears dry
Excess moisture can allow bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which can be dangerous for your hearing ability. Be sure you gently towel-dry your ears after bathing or swimming. If you can feel the water in your ear, tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out.
5. Take precautions at work
If you’re exposed to loud noises through your work, speak to your human resources (HR) department or manager.
Your employer is obliged to make changes to reduce your exposure to loud noise – for example, by:
- switching to quieter equipment if possible
- making sure you’re not exposed to loud noise for long periods
- providing hearing protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs
Make sure you wear any hearing protection you’re given.
How loud is too loud?
Here’s a guide to some typical noise levels, measured in decibels (dB). The higher the number, the louder the noise. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says noise levels above 105dB can damage your hearing if endured for more than 15 minutes each week. But lower levels, such as between 80dB and 90dB can also cause permanent damage if you’re exposed to them for hours every day.
- Normal conversation: 60-65dB
- A busy street: 75-85dB
- Lawn mower/heavy traffic: 85dB
- Forklift truck: 90dB
- Hand drill: 98dB
- Heavy lorry about seven meters away: 95-100dB
- Motorbikes: 100dB
- Cinema: some films regularly top 100dB during big action scenes
- Disco/nightclub/car horn: 110dB
- MP3 player on loud: 112dB
- Chainsaw: 115-120dB
- Rock concert/ambulance siren: 120dB