By Jenn Schumacher, AuD
Audiologist and Manager of Audiology Communications for GN Hearing
Living with hearing loss can have a detrimental effect on a person’s daily life, which is why it is essential people are conscious of the day-to-day things they can do to protect their hearing.
Headphones: Listening to loud music for a long period of time
Any level of sound over 85dB can be harmful to the ears, especially if the ears are exposed to it for a long period of time. An individual listening to music through headphones at a maximum volume is 100 to 110dB, and doing this for long periods of time can lead to significant hearing loss. It is advised not to listen with headphones for more than an hour at a time and ensure that 15-minute breaks are taken.
Smoking and drinking
Smoking can have a huge impact on a person’s hearing health, with 70% of smokers having a greater chance of developing hearing loss. Alcohol consumption in large quantities, over a long period of time, can also contribute to a hearing impairment, as damage to the central auditory cortex of the brain can occur.
Using cotton buds to clean your ears
Putting foreign objects into your ear canals to clean them can actually have the opposite effect and push ear wax further into the ear. The skin in the ear canal is also very thin, meaning it can be easily broken leading to infection. The average ear canal is approximately 2.5cm in length so there is a very real risk of accidentally rupturing the eardrum with a cotton bud as 2.5cm is a very short distance.
Exercise is important in order to keep the blood flowing around the human body and that includes a person’s ears. Having good circulation keeps oxygen levels up and keeps the internal parts of the ears healthy, which is why being inactive can be detrimental to an individual’s ear health.
High levels of stress
Stress and anxiety have both been linked as possible causes of tinnitus due to high levels of stress causing the body to go into fight or flight mode. This fills the body with adrenaline and increases the pressure on your nerves, blood flow and body heat which can travel up to the ears. Stress can also heighten tinnitus symptoms which can be very distracting for those experiencing it. This in turn can result in further stress creating a cycle that needs to be broken in order for the tinnitus to be managed.
Not wearing sufficient ear protection
Individuals that work in noisy career environments and fail to use the correct ear protection such as earplugs or noise-canceling headphones are much more likely to suffer from hearing loss. Anyone working in construction, music, on airline grounds, nightclubs, driving ambulances or on railways, should be extremely conscious of their ears and wear sufficient protection.
Free Online Hearing Test
Those wanting to check on their hearing and have an evaluation can do so via the ReSound Online Hearing Test, which provides a quick and easy way to test your hearing in just 3 minutes.
How does the test work? The test checks an individual’s ability to distinguish between a variety of words and numbers, in a noisy environment. The test can be done through headphones or through your device’s speakers and it is recommended the test is taken in a quiet environment where the participant can focus.
Take Our Online Hearing Test
If you think you might have hearing loss, take this quick test
to determine if further action is necessary.