January is almost here, and this means 2022 is quickly approaching. If you found that you had to ask people to repeat themselves over the holiday over family dinner or that others complained about the level you listened to the TV while it sounded fine to you, there is a chance that you have some degree of hearing loss. An excellent resolution this year is to address a hearing loss. You may find that it is not yet an issue, but it’s a good idea to know rather than not. If you do have a hearing issue, then it’s a great idea to treat it as soon as possible. If there is no issue yet, here are a few tactics to protect your hearing in the New Year.
Be Prepared to Protect Your Hearing
Our world continues to grow louder and it’s important to be prepared. Loud sound can damage the tiny hair-like cells of our inner ear, which transmit sound from our ears to our brains. When these cells are damaged, we are left with permanent hearing loss. Know the level of sound in the areas you frequent most and be prepared with hearing protection. Sound is measured in decibels and any sound over 85 dB can create enough damage to injure cells against the membrane walls of the inner ear. Hearing protection can lower decibel levels from 15 -33 dB Depending on the model which makes a big difference for your hearing health. You can usually identify the decibel level using free apps on most smartphones. Know the decibel levels around you and be prepared to protect your ears at home, at work, during leisure, and during your commute.
Monitor the Volume on Your Headphones
Hearing loss seems to affect younger generations more and more. This is in part due to the prevalence of headphone use. When connected to personal listening devices such as Smartphones and Mp3 players, can deliver volumes as high as 100 -110 dB. 100 dB can damage hearing in just 15 minutes while ten decibels higher can cause damage in under a minute. To minimize the damage to your ears, limit the volume to no more than 60% and make sure to take listening breaks. Many people use headphones at work to block out other sounds, but this causes people to turn up the volume higher, putting their hearing at risk. Another New Year’s resolution could be a gift to your ears. Investing in noise-canceling headphones. These amazing devices cancel out background noise, so you won’t be tempted to turn up the volume to drown it out.
Clean Your Ears the Safe Way
All too often people use cotton swabs to clean out their ears. The problem with this is that inserting anything into your ears can cause more serious problems. Our ears create earwax as an antimicrobial lubricant to keep our ears healthy but sometimes it can build up causing hearing issues. This is sometimes actually caused by inserting cotton swabs into the ears which causes earwax to be impacted. If you’ve been using cotton swabs, make it a resolution this year to change the habit. Instead of using cotton swabs, you can clean your ears during a hot shower. Earwax will naturally be softer in the steam of a shower, will come out on its own, where it can be wiped away with a damp cloth.
Keep up with Your Hearing Health
Hearing loss is a progressive condition that affects people of all ages. Even if you had your hearing checked a few years ago, it’s important to add a checkup to your New Year’s routine. Catching an issue with hearing early can allow you to avoid many of the dangerous side effects of hearing such as rifts in relationships, cognitive decline leading to dementia, chronic depression, lowered self-esteem, increased risk of falls, and less independence. Don’t let these issues mount. Hearing loss is very difficult to self-diagnose because it often develops gradually over years. This New Year’s make it a point to schedule a hearing test so you know for sure what the status of your hearing is. If a hearing loss is detected, we are here to help you find the best solution for this next year and so many beyond.