How to Protect Against Hearing Loss

Quick Read

Your lifestyle choices are one of the most significant factors in whether, and to what extent, you will ever experience diminished hearing. There are simple things you can do to protect yourself from hearing loss.

While genetics does play a role in hearing loss for many people, your lifestyle choices are one of the most significant factors in whether, and to what extent, you will ever experience diminished hearing. Many people are unaware that long term exposure to moderately high-volume noises can do as much or more damage to your hearing as sudden, extremely loud blasts. Here are a few things to be aware of when considering how to take care of your hearing for the long term:

  • When in an environment which you know is loud, take a break every 10-15 minutes and check for these warning signs:
    • Buzzing or ringing in your ears
    • A sense of “fullness” in your ears
    • Difficulty hearing others talking at a normal volume
  • Try to avoid sudden, extremely loud noises, such as firearms, loud machinery, and firecrackers at close range. If you know you will be in such a situation, make sure to be prepared with ear plugs or ear muffs with a high NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) to protect your hearing.
  • If you are frequently exposed to moderately loud noises, at your work or due to your hobbies, make sure to invest in high quality ear plugs or ear muffs and use them consistently. Consider specialist musician’s ear plugs if your hobby involves concerts or other loud music which you wish to hear clearly while still protecting yourself from high volume sounds. Also consider noise-canceling headphones if you frequently listen to music in environments with lots of other sounds; these will allow you to hear your own music without turning up the volume to drown out surrounding noise.
  • Some people stop trying to use ear plugs because they find them uncomfortable, or find they do not stay in their ears well. There are many different types of ear plugs on the market, and it’s worth experimenting with different styles to find ones that work for you. Those with smaller ears may find that ear plugs made from silicone, or softer forms of foam, work better for them, or it may be worth trying children’s ear plugs. Another option is to have custom ear plugs crafted from a mold of your ears, which can be done for around $100-120 for most people — much cheaper than the cost of hearing aids once your hearing is damaged.

While there are phone apps which attempt to measure the volume of noise around you, and a fair amount of alarmist advice available on the Internet, most decisions we make about protecting our hearing can ultimately rely on common sense: if the noise hurts your ears, you should probably turn it down, walk away, or put in your ear plugs.

Leave a Comment