Safe Listening Habits
We are increasingly becoming aware of the dangers of hearing loss. The problem is, even though we want to do something about it, we just don’t know how or where to begin. Thankfully, even a small step can go a long way in protecting your hearing, so you can begin today and now.
Start out small by recognizing unsafe sound in the first place. What sounds are considered to be unsafe? Any sound that rises above the level of 80dB is considered to be unsafe for human hearing. As such, even sounds from some household chores can be deemed unsafe, such as operating power tools, and using the vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, or snow blower. You can easily download an application on your smart phone which can monitor sound levels within your surroundings to see if the sound is above 80dB and therefore unsafe.
Sound levels that range from 85-100dB can damage your hearing within two hours of non-stop exposure. Sounds above 100dB can damage your hearing within only 15 to 20 minutes of non-stop exposure. This is where auditory protective gear comes into play.
Our ears dislike loud sounds in general. As such, the most obvious solution to protecting them is to purchase a pair of ear plugs or ear muffs that can be used before exposing yourself to any loud noises. These can be used for regular household activities such as mowing the lawn, using the blender for a long time, vacuuming, operating power tools, and other household chores. Also make sure to wear them before going out to loud recreational activities such as rock concerts or sporting events.
Another handy way of helping your hearing is to keep an eye on the volume level each time you listen to music or watch movies. Volume levels exceeding 60% of the maximum available volume are considered unsafe for hearing, so try to keep a volume level lower than 60%.
If you find the need to raise the volume just to drown out background noise, simply purchase a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. These will cancel out background noise while helping you maintain a healthy, safe volume level.
You can also protect your hearing by limiting the amount of time you spend exposing yourself to loud sounds. This can be done by taking frequent breaks if you work in a noisy environment or during a rock concert. You can limit your listening time to a maximum of 60 minutes at a stretch while listening to music on your headphones.
In many cases, prevention is better than the cure. The same can be said for hearing, since hearing loss is irreversible. You can take your hearing health into your own hands by having a hearing test done once every two years after the age of 50. This will help identify any early signs of hearing damage and help you take timely intervention to rectify this damage through the use of hearing aids.