The levels of noise pollution in today’s world are so high. Some of the noises we are exposed to on a daily basis are a threat to our hearing ability as they could lead to hearing loss, challenges of communicating in noisy backgrounds, and ringing ears.
Unfortunately, permanent hearing damage that’s noise-induced is incurable. If you can’t reduce your exposure to noise through moving away from it, limiting exposure time, or turning down the volume, then hearing protection will be your only solution.
This is why we continue to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis, the prevalence of hearing loss, and the available options to find the best solution that fits your needs. Do not wait until it is too late to start protecting your ears.
This article highlights some of the best hearing protection safety tips.
1. Reduce the Volume
The World Health Organization reports that about 1.1 billion young adults and teenagers across the world are at risk of contracting noise-induced hearing loss from hazardous use of audio devices.
If you enjoy your music through earbuds or headphones, you should follow the 60/60 rule to protect your hearing. This rule states that you should not use the headphones or earphones at more than 60 percent of the volume and not more than 60 minutes in a day.
Earphones particularly pose a greater threat because they fit right next to your eardrums. It is recommended that you use over the ear headphones if possible.
You should note that even loud music that is not played via headphones or earbuds poses a threat as well. If you happen to be holding any sort of social event, please make sure the volume is not too high that people have to shout for them to hold conversations.
2. Allows Your Ears Enough Time to Recover
Whenever you are exposed to extremely loud noise for a prolonged duration in places such as clubs or concerts, you need to allow your ears time to recover. You can do this by stepping out regularly for a few minutes for them to rest.
According to researchers, your ears required about 16 hours of quietness for them to recover from a single night of loud clubbing.
3. Don’t Use Cotton Swabs
People often use cotton swabs to clean their ears, especially when removing the wax settled in the ear canal. However, this is not advisable. It is not only normal but also important for you to have wax in your ears.
What most people forget is that the ear is a self-cleaning organ, and the wax prevents dust and other injurious particles from entering your ears. Additionally, inserting ear swabs poses a great risk of damaging sensitive ear organs such as the eardrums.
Whenever you feel that you have excess wax in your ears, it is recommended that you clean the canal gently with a damp towel. You can also use ear wax remover solutions every now and then.
The best solution is seeking the professional opinion of a hearing healthcare provider.
4. Always Take Medications Are Prescribed
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are known cause hearing loss is abused. You should discuss the impact of these drugs with your doctor and only use them as instructed to avoid losing your hearing ability.
5. Always Keep Your Ears Dry
Excessive moisture in your ears creates a conducive environment for bacteria to grow and attack your ear canal. This leads to what is referred to as the swimmer’s ear or any other form of infection. These infections are a threat to your hearing ability.
You should gently dry your ears with a clean towel after swimming or showering. If you can still feel some water in the ear, tilt your head and tug your ear lobe gently to force the water out.
You could also use a custom pair of swimmers’ earplugs to keep your ears dry. They will keep your ear canal safe by blocking out the water. Swimmers’ earplugs are great for both adults and children. Get one custom-fitted for you and keep your ears safe from infections.
6. Exercise Regularly
Exercising is good for your ears’ health. Cardio exercises such as cycling, walking, and running will get the blood circulating to all parts of your body, including your ears. This ensures the internal parts of the ears are healthy and functioning at their optimum.
Always take safety precautions when exercising. If you are cycling, for example, always wear a head helmet to avoid head injuries that would lead to concussions, which could subsequently cause hearing damage.
7. Manage your Stress Levels
Anxiety and stress have been shown to cause permanent and temporary tinnitus (ringing ears). High-stress levels cause the body to go into flight or fight mode, triggering the release of adrenaline to help either flee or fight the danger.
The process puts pressure on your body’s nerves, body heat, blood flow, and more. Researchers believe that this pressure could travel all the way to your inner ear, causing tinnitus symptoms.
8. Get Regular ear Checkups
You can ask your physician to include general ear screening in your regular health checkups. Since hearing loss is a problem that develops gradually over time, it is recommended that you take annual hearing checkups and consultation with a professional hearing healthcare provider.
That way, early diagnosis for hearing loss will help salvage the situation. Taking immediate action is very important because besides detracting your quality of life, hearing loss has been linked to other health issues such as dementia, heart disease, and depression.
9. Using earplugs in noisy places
About 15 percent of Americans suffer noise-induced hearing problems due to loud leisure and work environments. Clubs, chainsaws, concerts, lawnmowers, or any other noise that forces you to shout for the person next to you to hear you pose a great threat to your hearing ability.
Fortunately, earplugs are affordable and convenient for blocking these noises. You should visit your hearing healthcare provider to get yourself a customized pair of earplugs that fit you.
Musicians use customizable earplugs that are fitted with filters. These filters allow the musician to hear music and conversations while reducing harmful sounds. They are designed to maintain the high quality of the original sound.
Types of Hearing Protective Devices
These are small devices inserted in the ears to help block harmful noises. You can buy earplugs from a retail store or have them custom-made for your specific needs. It is ideal to use disposable earplugs for occasional tasks such as moving heavy machinery and lawn mowing.
They are ideal in situations where you are exposed to loud sounds the entire day. Some working conditions do not allow the use of earplugs for safety precautions. Earmuffs will absorb the noise before it gets to your eardrums.
They must be airtight against your face and should completely cover your ears. This means wearing earrings or glasses will reduce the effectiveness of the earmuffs.
Earmuffs offer better protection to your ears in comparison to earplugs because they are capable of blocking high frequencies.
However, they are more expensive and cannot be used for too long. Another con is that they are not compatible with accessories such as glasses and earrings. They are also difficult to use in tight spaces.
Ear Canal Caps
They are a combination of earmuffs and earplugs but have a headphone-like design featuring ear caps that plug into your ears. They are much smaller compared to earmuffs and are compatible with glasses.
There are two models: behind the head and over the head designs. However, these hearing protection devices cannot block noise exceeding 95 dB.
Hearing Protection FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hearing protection:
Noise is basically unwanted sound. Some of the noises we experience on a daily basis include machines, loud music, crowds, metal contact, hoses, compressors, and more. Even if you like or enjoy a sound and don’t mind the noise pollution it’s causing, hearing damage or loss can still occur.
How Do You Tell When Noise Is Too Much?
Some of the indicators that you can use to gauge whether the noise is too loud include:
• Feeling dizzy and having headaches due to noise
• Having difficulties hearing conversations
• When your ears begin to ring after leaving a noisy place
• When you have to speak louder than usual for others to hear you.
What are the effects of noise pollution?
Noise pollution poses a great threat to your health. It could result in both long-term and short-term hearing damage. Excess noise could also lead to:
• Headaches and dizziness
• High Blood Pressure
• Poor Concentration
• Stress and nervousness that might result in heart disease, ulcers, and insomnia
Why Seek Solutions?
There have been complaints that OSHA noise standards are not up to par. While it is not a bad thing to expect effective safety regulations, safety should not exist because the authority is watching for defiance. You should protect yourself and others by educating yourself on hearing loss. There are endless resources on safety tips that you could apply to protect your ears from noise pollution.