Whether you are young, old or somewhere in the middle, getting into the habit of protecting your ears from loud noises will help you hear better longer. Did you know that 10 million people in the United States have noise-induced hearing loss? Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by repeated exposure to loud sounds. Exposure can occur at work or even as part of a favorite hobby. With use of protection, the risk of hearing loss from noise can be reduced.

Here are some healthy habits to protect your ears from loud noises:

  • Make a list. What are your favorite activities? Where do you work? What sorts of sounds are associated with these activities and how could they affect your hearing long term? Being aware of your listening environment is the first step
  • Wear ear protection. Sounds above 85 decibels can damage our hearing especially with repeated exposure. These sounds could be from machinery at work, power tools or even attending a rock concert, sporting event or mowing the lawn. Just like safety glasses protect our eyes, ear plugs are an inexpensive form of protection against loud sounds
  • Turn the volume down. Wearing ear buds has become a norm in today’s world, but many people are not aware that volume level matters to our long term hearing health. This is especially true among teenagers. Turn down the volume on your own devices and then talk to your children or grandchildren to educate them about protecting their own hearing
  • Talk to your employer. If you work in an occupation that has high levels of noise, talk with your employer about what options are made available to protect employee hearing
  • Get tested. Just as you would schedule a dentist appointment, physical or eye exam, remember your hearing health. A hearing care professional can help you monitor your hearing and talk through strategies to protect your hearing

The more we can make hearing protection a habit the better our hearing will be as we age.