Hearing Conservation – how to protect your ears from damage

Hearing conservation should be a top priority for everyone, but particularly for those who are in loud environments. Hearing loss can be cumulative (from routine or prolonged periods in loud environments) or acute and happen suddenly. Whether you live, work, or play in environments that are likely to be loud and potentially cause hearing loss, there are steps you can take to protect your hearing.

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Some of the most common occupations that are at high risk of hearing loss include construction, anyone working as or with musicians, and those working in nightclub environments. However, any environment has the potential to cause hearing loss depending on various factors. Everyone experiences some degree of hearing loss due to age, so it is critical to conserve what you can. Here are a few steps to do so:

  • Use earplugs when you know you’ll be around loud noises. On average, 15 percent of Americans have some amount of hearing loss because of loud environments—and that loss is 100 percent preventable. Whether you do gardening with loud machinery or blast the music while you work, using high-quality earplugs or protective ear muffs is one of the most affordable and easiest ways to conserve your hearing.
  • Turn down the volume. Sometimes it’s really that simple. The World Health Organization reports that 1.1 billion people (usually teens and young adults) are at high risk for hearing loss simply from listening to music too loudly. If you use headphones, stick with those instead of earbuds (the latter having a higher chance of causing hearing loss).
  • Rest your ears. If you can’t control the volume in your immediate environment, give your ears a break for at least five minutes every hour. Research has shown that your ears need about 16 hours of relative quiet time in order to really recover from a (loud) night out.
  • Don’t swab your ears. If you’re in the habit of using cotton swabs inside the ears, stop (the crevices on the outside of the ears are fine). Some amount of wax is normal and healthy, and it’s easy to accidentally burst an eardrum with a swab. If you think you have excess wax, talk to your doctor. 
  • Be careful with medications. Did you know that some common drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen have been linked to hearing loss? Use them only as directed and discuss the reasons why you’re depending on these medications if you seem to be using them to excess.
  • Aim for dry ears. It’s not just loud noises that can cause hearing loss. Too much moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can impact the ear canal and cause infections and swimmer’s ear. If you’re often in the water, pick up a pair of swimmer’s earplugs.

Hearing is something we take for granted, but it’s very easy to practice some basic conservation measures. Even if you don’t have an occupation that’s routinely loud, it’s a good idea to have a few pairs of earplugs handy just in case. Shop Shield-Safety today to add these items to your toolkit.