Hearing is an essential sense that helps you connect with the world around you. It improves your life in many ways, from the happy tunes of your favorite songs to the peaceful sounds of nature. Because of this, it’s essential to protect your ears in today’s noisy world. It doesn’t take much. You only need to do a few easy things that can significantly reduce the chance of hearing loss to keep your hearing in good shape. Continue reading to learn more and take the first steps to protect your hearing today.
The Basics of Hearing: Why Decibel Levels Matter
Decibel levels are a way to measure how loud or strong a sound is on the decibel scale. Since the scale is logarithmic, each rise of 10 decibels means the sound is ten times as loud. This scale is based on the threshold of hearing, which is the softest sound that a healthy human ear can pick up. A number of 0 decibels (dB) is given to this reference level. As the volume of a sound goes up, so does the decibel level.
To understand how decibel levels affect hearing, it’s important to know that noise-induced hearing loss can happen after exposure to high decibel levels for a long time. How noise affects your hearing depends on how loud it is, how long it lasts, and what kind of sounds it makes. Consider the following familiar sounds and how loud they are in decibels:
- Whisper: 20 dB
- Normal talking: 60 dB
- City traffic: 80 dB
- Lawnmower: 90 dB
- Rock concert: 110 dB
- Fireworks: 140 dB
Sounds louder than 85 dB can damage your hearing if exposed to them for a long time. Consider a construction worker who might regularly use a miter saw, which ranks at 109 dB, or someone who uses a pressure washer consistently, ranking at 100 dB. These instances can cause potential hearing loss over time if appropriate protective equipment is not used. The chance of hearing damage goes up as the decibel level and exposure increase.
This exposure to high decibel levels damages the sensitive parts of the inner ear, especially the hair cells that send sound messages to the brain. At first, this could cause brief hearing loss or tinnitus, a ringing sound in the ears. But being exposed to loud sounds continuously can cause permanent hearing loss. Another thing to know is that extremely loud sounds, like gunfire or explosions, can quickly cause permanent hearing loss when you’re right next to the sound.
Knowing about decibel levels and taking the right steps can help protect your hearing and lower the risk of hearing loss. If you’re worried about your hearing or have had problems with your hearing, it’s a good idea to have your hearing assessed by our skilled team. We can give you an accurate idea of your hearing health and discuss a plan moving forward.
Tips For Using Headphones
Many people use headphones to listen to audiobooks and music. You might not realize that listening too long or at a volume that’s too loud can quickly lead to hearing issues. Investing in a good pair of headphones is important, but it’s equally important to consider the following tips.
- Noise-canceling headphones can help you hear what you’re listening to in crowded or loud spaces, but if the crowd is loud enough that people are raising their voices to be heard, that means it’s making you turn up whatever you’re listening to so loud that it might be overworking your ears.
- Follow the 80-90 rule when using headphones: If you listen at 80% of the highest volume, you shouldn’t do it for more than 90 minutes daily. Some advanced headphones will keep track of how loud and long you’ve used them so you can adjust your levels.
Are iPods Bad For Your Ears?
Let’s face it, people use iPods, tablets, and MP3 players every day. Even though they make listening to your favorite songs and podcasts easily, protecting our ears is important. Compared to over-the-ear headphones, earbuds are more likely to cause damage because they are close to the eardrums. Remember the 80-90 rule above? If you’re using earbuds, follow the 60/60 rule instead. This means you should keep the noise at or below 60% of the maximum level and listen for no more than 60 minutes at a time. Also, use both earbuds. When you only use one, it doesn’t sound as loud, causing you to turn it up. Instead, use both and turn down the volume.
If you are exposed to loud noises regularly, talk with our team at Eldorado Hearing about custom earbuds. We can assess your hearing, determine the best solution, and provide ongoing support to maintain your hearing health.
How Can You Protect Your Ears At Large Events?
As more research is conducted on hearing health and the importance of early protection, the question is raised about protecting hearing at concerts, professional athletic competitions, and other events. You might not realize how loud it is, but these events often average between 80 and 90 decibels. When the crowd cheers, this decibel level only increases. This is the perfect chance to put your noise-canceling devices to use to help block out the noises.
What Other Ways Can You Naturally Protect Your Hearing?
Besides paying attention to noise levels and using hearing protection, there are several natural ways to improve and protect your hearing:
Give your ears regular breaks: Just like the rest of your body, your ears need regular breaks. Take the time to sit in a quiet space so they can rest. Simply doing this throughout the day can help lower your risk of hearing loss.
Make healthy choices: Good circulation is important for your hearing health as it helps the blood vessels in the inner ear function better. To increase your circulation, exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet.
Pay attention to your stress: Managing your stress is also important. When you have chronic stress, the body is always on edge, which increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Without a moment of pause, your body can’t relax, and the pressure applied to your internal systems keeps going. This causes damage you’re unaware of, including damage to the systems that support your hearing.
Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is important for keeping your body working well, including the health of your ears. Getting enough water helps keep the right amount of fluid in the inner ear, which is good for hearing. Drink a lot of water daily to keep your ears in good shape.
Ask for Help: If you are concerned about hearing loss or have constant ringing in your ears, you should talk to a team member. We can do a full review, determine what’s wrong with your hearing, and give you options. Early diagnosis and treatment can often stop the damage from worsening and improve how well the treatment works.
Don’t Ignore Your Hearing Concerns
Good hearing health helps you live a high-quality life and stay in touch with the world around you. You can protect your hearing by keeping an eye on your volume, using hearing protection, and making healthy choices. Remember that the decisions you make now will affect how well you can hear in the future. Call our team at Eldorado Hearing to find out the health of your hearing. Our team uses the latest technology and takes the time to truly listen to your concerns. Call today to see what we can do for you.