How Can You Protect Your Hearing Health?
When you think about protecting your health, chances are you think about looking after your organs, your bones, your eyes and your joints. You probably even consider things like your nails, skin and hair. Your ears and hearing are probably way down the list, but it really shouldn’t be the case. Hearing is an incredibly important sense that allows us to interact and experience the world around us, and while it does naturally decline with age there are plenty of ways you can keep it sharp for as long as possible. Here are a few ways you can protect your hearing health.
Reduce the volume
These days, we’re all glued to our smart devices. And when it comes to consuming media like games, music and videos, using earphones allows us to maintain our privacy and not disturb those around us. However, most of us are guilty of having the volume up too loud. The World Health Organisation have stated that over a billion teenagers and young adults are currently putting themselves at risk of noise induced hearing loss due to listening to audio at unsafe levels. Listening to music is wonderful, it can reduce stress, help you to clear your head and uplift mood. But be aware of having it at a high volume, particularly with headphones. Your phone will give you a warning message when your headphone volume is up too high, so pay attention to this. Another way lots of young people damage their hearing is through music at clubs and festivals. If you do attend music events and other occasions where very loud speakers are used, stand back away from them where possible. There are earplugs on the market now that allow you to still hear music while preventing damage, so if you will be attending lots of loud events it’s worth popping a pair into your bag. That way you can enjoy the experience without risking your hearing.
Protect your ears in the workplace
Do you work in a noisy job? It could be at a factory, an airport, in construction, in events or something else entirely. Either way, if you’re in a noisy environment day in day out, it’s absolutely crucial to take care of your ears. You should be provided with sufficient hearing protection for the role you do, it’s then up to you to use it properly- every time. While occasional loud music or noise can be damaging enough for your ears, in the workplace it’s a particular risk, as your ears never get time to recover.
Think about your ear health and hygiene
It’s widely known that using cotton swabs is bad for the ears. You can push wax back into the ear, and if you use instruments like hair grips you can introduce bacteria or even risk things breaking off in your ears. Recurrent ear infections can lead to hearing loss, and so it’s important to take good care of your ear hygiene. Chronic middle ear infections can point to issues elsewhere in the body, for example sinus and allergy problems or ear injuries- have your GP get to the cause to prevent them from coming back. In children, sometimes ‘grommets’ need to be fitted in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain and prevent pressure and pain. This is because the eustachian tubes are smaller, narrower and more level in children which can lead to issues such as glue ear. Many ear issues in children do resolve as they get older but it’s important to treat each problem as it arises to avoid things like permanent hearing loss.
Manage your stress levels
You might wonder how stress and hearing are linked, however research has shown that stress can cause or worsen a condition called tinnitus. This leads to buzzing, ringing and other noises in the ears which can hugely impact a person’s life. Stress can negatively impact just about every area of the body. It can lead to things like heart disease, heart attack and stroke, weight gain, sleep disorders and much more as well as impact your hearing. If you’re under chronic stress, re-evaluate your life. Could you change careers to make life less stressful? Could you talk to a debt advisor to get money under control? Could you live a healthier lifestyle to ease health symptoms that cause you worry? There might not be a very obvious solution to every problem, however it’s important to think it through and make changes where possible. Therapy can help you get into a better frame of mind too.
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