Woman protects her hearing with ear muffs while doing yardwork.

Eating right and safeguarding your hearing have some parallels. It’s difficult to know where to start even though it sounds like a good idea. If there aren’t any obvious noise risks and you don’t consider your daily environment to be very noisy, this is especially true. But daily life can put stress on your ears and your senses, so doing these hearing protection tips can help maintain your auditory acuity.

If you want to continue to enjoy the sounds around you, you should do everything you can to slow down the deterioration of your hearing.

Tip 1: Wearable Ear Protection

The most basic and sensible way that you can safeguard your hearing is to protect your ears. This means taking basic steps to diminish the amount of loud and damaging noises you’re subjected to.

For most people, this will mean using hearing protection when it’s called for. Two basic forms of protection are available:

  • Ear Muffs, which are put over the ears.
  • Ear Plugs, which are placed in the ear canal.

Neither form of hearing protection is inherently better than the other. Each type has its positive aspects. What’s essential is that you find some hearing protection that you feel comfortable wearing.

Tip 2: Know When Sound Becomes Dangerous

But when to wear hearing protection is the question. Noise that is painful is usually considered harmful. But much lower volumes of sound can injure your ears than you might think. The sounds of traffic, for instance, are loud enough to begin injuring your hearing after only a couple of hours. A vital step in protecting your hearing, then, is recognizing when sound becomes harmful.

The following threshold is when sound becomes harmful:

  • 85 decibels (dB): This level of sound is hazardous after about two hours of exposure. Your hairdryer or a busy city street are both circumstances where you will find this volume of sound.
  • Over 100 dB: Your hearing can be very quickly damaged by this. Damage is done in around thirty seconds with noises over this limit. Jet engines and rock concerts, for instance, can damage your ears in around thirty seconds.
  • 95-100 dB: This is about the noise level you’d get from farm equipment or the typical volume of your earbuds. After around 15-20 minutes this volume of noise becomes harmful.

Tip 3: Your Phone Can Be a Sound Meter

We can take precautions to minimize our exposure, now that we have an idea of what levels will be hazardous. The trick is that, once you’re out in the real world, it can be difficult to measure what’s too loud and what isn’t.

That’s where your smartphone can become a handy little tool. There are dozens of apps for iPhone, Android, and everything in between that turn your device’s microphone into a sound meter.

Having a dynamic sound meter with you will help you evaluate everything you’re hearing in decibels, so you’ll have a much better understanding of what harmful levels actually sound like in your everyday life.

Tip 4: Be Mindful of Your Volume Settings

A smartphone with earbuds is commonly the way people listen to music nowadays. This sets up a risky situation for your hearing. Your hearing can be considerably damaged if you keep your earbuds too loud over a long period of time.

That’s why safeguarding your ears means keeping a sharp eye on your volume control. You should never raise the volume to drown out noises elsewhere. And we suggest using apps or configurations to ensure that your volume doesn’t accidentally become dangerously high.

If your hearing begins to decline, earbuds can become a negative feedback loop; you could find yourself consistently increasing the volume of your earbuds in order to compensate for your declining hearing, and in the process doing more harm to your ears.

Tip 5: Get Your Hearing Checked

You may think that getting a hearing test is something you do only when your hearing begins to diminish. Without a standard to compare results to, it’s not always easy to detect a problem in your hearing.

Scheduling a hearing screening or exam is a great way to obtain data that can be used for both treatment and diagnostic purposes, ensuring that all of your future hearing (and hearing protection) decisions have some added context and information.

Pay Attention to Your Hearing

It would be perfect if you could always protect your hearing without any difficulty. But there are always going to be difficulties. So whenever you can and as often as possible, safeguard your ears. Also, get regular hearing examinations. Hopefully, these tips will give you a good start.