Hearing problems plaque many people in the United States. Nearly five million Americans are currently walking around with some degree of hearing loss but they have yet to seek help or treatment. Most people do not seek out any help for their hearing problems for at least seven years. Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from ringing in their ears, this is also called tinnitus. There are things we can do to protect our hearing. Among other things, we can get custom hearing protection to keep our hearing as good as it can be for as long as possible.
To better protect our hearing, it is important to understand what can hurt it. For example, how does noise impact our ears? The way we interpret sound is through movement. The movement of air that is sound and noise causes the tiny hair cells in our inner ear to vibrate this creates a signal that travels up the nerve to the brain where it is interpreted as sound. When we are in a very noisy environment, we overwhelm those delicate hairs. Much like an electrical circuit being overloaded, so too can these tiny hairs be overwhelmed. Loud noises can cause sensorineural hearing loss and lead to ringing in the ears.
Like with many health issues, there are things we can do to prevent serious damage to our ears and the resultant hearing loss. Here are some tips to prevent hearing loss:
- Walk away from loud noises. If you are walking down the street and you hear a sudden, loud bang or other noise, put your fingers in your ears and walk away from that noise as quickly as you can. One of the best things you can do is put some distance between yourself and the offending noise. Your fingers may not work as well as custom hearing protection but they provide some protection for your ears and are better than nothing. Getting away from the source of the sound will reduce the intensity that your ears experience and help protect your hearing.
- Get a few pairs of ear plugs. If you work (or play) around loud noises, get yourself some custom hearing protection in the form of custom ear plugs. Even generic ear plugs that are disposable and made of foam will do a lot to protect your ears and your hearing. They can be very effective at protecting you from dangerous levels of sound but still let you hear what you want or need to hear. When you wear these at a concert, you can till hear the music. If you are at work, you can still have a conversation. Just make sure whatever ear plugs you get fit well and are snug in your ear canal. That is the best way to make sure they do what you need them to do.
- Do not set off your own fire crackers. Everyone enjoys a good fireworks show on the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve. The best way to enjoy the show and save your hearing is to not run the show yourself. Leave the fireworks to the people who know best how to set them off. During the professional show, you should take care to stay a safe distance away from the action. The fun is the beauty of the light and the color, not the noise and hearing loss. Get custom hearing protection for the whole family to enjoy the show safely. Put in your ear protection before the show starts.
- Limit your exposure to loud sounds. When you listen to your music or watch videos on your mobile devices, do not blast the volume through your ear buds. If you can avoid using your ear buds, you should. Keep the volume low. Try to spend as little time as possible in super noisy environments. If you can spend more time in quiet places, you should do that to protect your hearing.
Nearly one in three people over the age of 60 has some hearing loss. It might seem that hearing loss is inevitable and that all you have to do is wait until you need hearing aids and that ringing ears happen to everyone. The good news is that you can take steps to protect your hearing.