Smart Strategies for Hearing Protection
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — Whether you played in a college band, pushed your headphones too hard, or used power tools without proper hearing protection, chances are you’re experiencing hearing loss because you’re getting older.
No one wants to lose their hearing. But the good news is that there are steps you can take now to preserve what hearing you have left.
Chris Martin, will.i.am and The Who’s Pete Townshend are just a few of the many musicians suffering from hearing loss after years of exposure to loud music.
But you don’t have to be a rock star to lose your hearing – people of all ages are vulnerable and audiologists say it’s important to understand the causes.
“Hearing isn’t just damaged by high-level sound, it’s damaged by high-level sound over a period of time,” audiologist Brian Fligor said.
For example, just 15 minutes at a football game in a stadium can cause hearing damage, or 5 minutes from a very loud TV or loud music on your iPhone with standard headphones on. So if you often attend games and concerts, or turn up the volume on your iPhone daily, your risk of hearing loss increases.
Consumer Reports says one tip is to minimize the loudness of noises around you — use noise-canceling headphones that block out background noise so you can keep the volume down. If you regularly use a lawn mower or power tools, wear ear defenders or earplugs that reduce noise to normal conversational levels.
“If I have to speak really loud to be heard by someone next to me, you have to use hearing protection,” Fligor said.
Many TVs have an auto-dimming feature during commercials.
Loud, action-packed sequences? Typically found in the “assist functions” of your TV’s sound settings, there may be an option called “automatic volume” or “dynamic range protection”.
If you think you have hearing loss, consider getting tested. The sooner you get a hearing aid, the better.
And don’t forget the importance of a healthy lifestyle, as factors such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health conditions can all contribute to hearing loss. So eating well and exercising can also help.