Hearing problems are very common throughout the world. Standard hearing tests show that approximately 13% of Americans, which is about 30 million people or one in every eight people, has some degree of hearing loss in both ears. Nearly 37 million Americans who are 18 years old or older, this is 15% of the population, say they notice having some problems with their hearing. Many of these people do not get any treatment for their hearing problems, which is unfortunate because new technological advancements make it easier than ever to restore at least some hearing to a large percentage of these people. Newer custom hearing protection is available and affordable for many Americans.
As an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, here are some tips to help protect your hearing.
- Use ear plugs when you are surrounded by loud noises. If you go to a show, concert or other event where you know the music or other sounds will be loud, such as at a Nascar race, bring ear plugs and use them. If you attend a lot of events like this, you may want to consider getting custom hearing protection made for your ears. This can be especially helpful if you have ear canals that are smaller or larger. These can also be more comfortable than the ear plugs where one size fits all.
- Leave when the noise gets too loud. If you are out and hear a sudden loud noise that you were not expecting, put your fingers in your ears and/ or walk away. Putting some distance between you and the source of the noise can do a lot to protect your ears from being damaged by that noise. Similarly, putting your fingers in your ears really can help protect them from damaging noise.
- Be careful about fireworks. If you are not a professional firework artist or you do not set them off for a living, do not try to set them off! If you are at a party or event on New Year’s Eve or on the 4th of July, let the professionals take care of the fireworks. You should also try to enjoy them from a safe distance. These are other events where your ear plugs can come in handy. Wearing them can help you enjoy the beautiful firecrackers while saving your hearing.
- Turn down the radio. When you are listening to your music, you do not have to blast it at top volume to enjoy it. This is especially important when you are listening to anything through ear buds. Experts recommend limiting the amount of time you spend with your headphones on or your earbuds in. The amount of time you spend listening to music or podcasts or anything is as important in determining how much damage you are doing to your ears as the volume.
- Get your hearing checked periodically. It is always good if you can catch a problem when it is small. Do not wait until your hearing is really bad to have it checked. Just like you have your teeth checked and you go for health check ups, swing by a hearing aid center and have a hearing professional check yours. It only takes a few minutes of your time and is painless. When you see a hearing expert, they can help get you custom hearing protection that fits your needs and your ears perfectly.
Your hearing is important to your quality of life. One really common hearing problem is called tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Approximately 10% of the United States population reports having experienced this for at least five minutes this year. That can be a sign they need to have their hearing checked.
On average, people with hearing loss will wait seven years before they get help. With all of the advancements in hearing aids, custom hearing protection and other assisted listening devices, it is silly for anyone to let any loss of hearing go without getting help. Many limit their interactions with friends and family. ‘This isolation can lead to depression. As more research is done and new products developed, more and more people with hearing loss can be helped.