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A Quick Guide to Protecting your Hearing

a pair of orange foam ear plugs

Hearing loss is a very common health condition; it is usually painless and gradual and can develop over several years. It can be so gradual that you don't even notice it and while it can't always be prevented as for some it is part of aging, hearing loss which is caused by loud noises can be avoided and there are some simple things you can do to help stop loud noises from permanently damaging your ears, no matter how old you are. 

Avoid loud noises

The first and most obvious thing to do is to avoid loud noises as much as you can. But what is classed as a loud noise, and how loud is too loud? 

A noise is usually loud enough to damage your hearing if you have to raise your voice to talk to others, or if you can't hear what people nearby are saying. It's too loud if it hurts your ears, or you have ringing in your ears or muffled hearing afterward. 

Be careful when listening to music

Many people listen to loud music through their earphones and headphones, but this is actually one of the biggest dangers to your hearing.

If you love listening to music, then make sure you use noise-canceling earphones or headphones rather than just turning the volume up to cover up outside noise. You should have the volume up just enough so that you can hear your music comfortably, but no higher. Limit your time using earphones and headphones too, and don't use them for more than an hour at a time and make sure that you take a break for at least five minutes every hour. Even just turning down the volume a little bit can make a big difference to your risk of hearing damage.

Protect your hearing during loud events and activities

To protect your hearing during loud activities and events like nightclubs, gigs or sports events, just be smart and use your common sense – move away from loudspeakers and take a break from the noise every 15 minutes. Also, after you have been to a loud event, then give your hearing about 18 hours to recover. If you go to these events or participate in loud activities often, you could also consider wearing earplugs. You can get re-usable musicians' earplugs now that reduce the volume of music, but don't muffle it, so you still get a great experience while protecting your ears. 

Take precautions at work

If your job means that you are exposed to loud noises, then see if you can switch to quieter equipment. However, if this isn't possible, then make sure you take regular breaks and not exposed to loud noise for long periods. Also, make sure you use hearing protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs.

Get your hearing tested

If you're worried you might be losing your hearing, then get your hearing tested. The earlier it is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it.

How do you know if your hearing is damaged? 

Apart from ringing in your ears, the only definite way to know if your hearing is damaged is to have a hearing test. However, there are signs you can look out for. If you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves or to speak up if you are having difficulty following conversations in public places if friends or family members mentioned that they think your hearing is going or if people often ask you to speak more softly, these are all signs that there could be something wrong and that it's time to go for a test

Different types of ear protection

There is a wide range of technical hearing protection products available, including quality earplugs, which reduce the overall level of sound but still allow you to hear everything clearly. There are earmuffs or defenders which have cups lined with sound-deadening material, or you can get customized earplugs that are designed to protect your hearing while delivering clear and natural sound across all frequencies. Custom hearing protection is available and provides a better fit and more protection. If you are frequently immersed in loud environments, custom protection will help you preserve your hearing. 

Our professionals will be happy to discuss your hearing protection needs with you and determine the best possible solution for your specific requirements. To learn more about Arkansas Professional Hearing Care call today at 501-614-7904.