Hellen Keller once said, “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” Undeniably, the sense of hearing is one of our most essential senses; hearing allows us to connect to the world for various critical, even life-saving reasons. Hearing allows us to communicate with others at a level that is not possible with any of our other senses. In general, our communication capacity is harmed severely as our hearing loss worsens. However, even moderate hearing loss significantly impacts our daily lives.
With the advent of technology, we live in a society of consumer electronics and personal audio boom. The invention of speaker has made listening to sounds or music even more enjoyable to some. However, most people have become so private that they prefer listening music using their headphones, which has contributed essentially to hearing loss of most people. But, if you utilize them responsibly, they’re fine. Some people believe that hearing loss epidemics are caused by people listening to headphones too loudly. Even though this is a little sensationalist, it is critical to recognize your limits and avoid hurting your hearing. If you like your music at a fair volume but not so loud that you’re drowning out other sounds, you’re doing it correctly.
Listening to loud music is one favorite pastime, especially for children and teens. However, they do not realize that the too loudness of headphones is destroying a sense of hearing. For instance, firecrackers or other loud noises can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss if heard too close to the ear. Hearing loss can also develop over time because of damage caused by exposure to loud noises. Hearing loss takes a shorter time to establish if a sound is more audible. More prolonged exposure to noise can lead to hearing loss, primarily when hearing protection is not used, or there is not enough time for the ears to rest between exposures.
Factors that Affect Hearing Loss
Constant exposure to loud or very loud sounds can cause faster and more significant damage to your ears. Like height, the sound is quantified in decibels (dB), a unit of measurement derived from the metric system. The human ear can hear only so many frequencies or pitches. Parents should be aware that many of the technologies that youngsters use today have noise levels substantially higher than 85 dB. 94-110 dBA is a typical volume level for music played over headphones at total volume.
As you get closer to the source of a sound, the volume increases, and as you travel further away, the volume decreases. Hearing loss is significantly less likely if you are far away from the noise source. Sitting away from the speakers, for example, can lower your risk.
Throughout a person’s lifetime, the effects of noise accumulate. In the long run, too much exposure to loud noises might cause permanent damage to the eardrum. Even a single, noisy event that lasts for a long time can be damaging.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss
You must be aware of the noise levels you are exposed to daily to safeguard your hearing. In many cases, the noise levels in our workplaces, homes, and communities much exceed the safe limits, putting our ears at risk of injury or loss. If you want to keep your ears safe and prevent hearing loss, read on to learn how many decibels are too loud and what noise levels you should avoid.
1. Avoid too much noise. The average noise level considered safe for our ears is 70-85 decibels. To minimize hearing damage and possible loss, you should avoid prolonged or repeated exposure to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels. When you must yell to be heard, the volume is too loud for your ears to handle. Power tools such as saws, drills, headphones, and motorbike exhaust are all sources of deafening noises. Learn more about the link between hearing loss and exposure to loud music.
2. Be a Noise Police. Consider purchasing low-noise products and devices. If you are in a public place, you can also ask the manager or an event organizer to turn down the sound if it’s too loud in the movie theater, a restaurant, or any other place you visit frequently. Carrying an earplug is also an excellent idea.
3. Limit the use of loud noises in your daily routine. If you live near a construction site or an ambulance, you may hear sirens or a jackhammer. However, spending too much time with them can harm your ears. Two factors contribute to hearing loss caused by noise: volume and duration.
4. Keep Your Ears Safe by Wearing Protective Devices. As a precaution, consider wearing ear protection, such as ear plugs, when you know you’ll be exposed to loud noises for an extended period. Earmuffs and earplugs are placed in your ear canal and can lower noise by 15-30 decibels. Others reduce noise levels uniformly across the spectrum. Musicians, for example, can use them to reduce the volume while maintaining a clear, undistorted sound. Earplugs and earmuffs can be used combined to provide even more protection.
5. Clean Out Your Ears of Earwax Properly. Waxing your ears can reduce hearing quality. But don’t use a cotton swab to clean them out, as this can cause the wax to be pushed farther into the crevices. Alternatively, you can use an at-home watering kit to soften the wax and then wash it away. Your doctor may remove it if it becomes congested in your ear.
6. Make sure your medications don’t pose a risk to your hearing. Some antibiotics and cancer-fighting treatments can cause hearing loss, as can many other drugs. Even substantial doses of aspirin may cause damage to your ears. Consult your physician if you are taking any prescription medicine to ensure that it will not interfere with your treatment. As a precaution, ask your doctor to conduct the hearing and balance tests both before and after you begin taking any medicine that could affect your ears.
7. Avoid Smoking. Research suggests that smoking increases your risk of losing your hearing—one more good reason to put the cigarettes down. Don’t inhale secondhand smoke if you’re not a habitual user.
8. Practice the 60/60 rule. Listening to your MP3 player’s music at 60% of its maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day is the safest way to do so. Use your MP3 player’s “smart volume” option if you bought it in the EU. You’ll be able to fine-tune the loudness with this.
9. Practice Hearing Detox. Make sure your ears have a chance to heal after exposure to loud noise. It takes at least 16 hours of rest for your hearing to recover after spending two hours in a 100dB sound environment, such as a nightclub. Shortening this period of healing increases the risk of long-term hearing loss.
10. Have your Hearing be Checked Regularly. If you have a relative or a family member born with hearing impairment or hard of hearing, it is possible to develop hearing loss. You must also get a regular hearing check if you are frequently exposed to loud noises and if a ringing sound is a common occurrence in your ears. Consider getting a hearing aid or other treatment if your problem is severe. If you notice a rapid and inexplicable shift in your hearing, make an appointment with your physician immediately. It may be a sign of anything more serious.
After reading this article, you might be worried about your hearing health. However, there isn’t much to be concerned about as long as you understand the fundamentals of attentive listening. Be warned that extended exposure to louder sounds can adversely affect hearing. Take note that your ears need some rest whether you’re listening to music for hours or working in a noisy setting. In the rare instance that loud music is necessary, limit the duration to no more than two minutes. It’s best to listen to a few of your favorite songs at a loud volume for about 10 to 15 minutes. Exposure to loud sounds on a rare occasion is unlikely to harm you, but you should watch your ear pressure to avoid long-term damage. Our ears are a unique organ that connects us with the rest of the world; it is the first organ developed when the fetus is formed and the last to disappear when a person dies.