You might take your hearing for granted, but once it’s damaged, it’s damaged for life. Any deterioration in hearing can have a profound impact on your quality of life, and the resulting difficulty in communication can lead to:
For this reason, it’s crucial to protect your ears in any way you can, especially if you spend a lot of time around loud noises.
From heading to clubs and concerts, to using loud machinery such as lawnmowers and chainsaws, any noise that forces you to shout to be heard is dangerous for your ears1. A cheap and easy way to protect your hearing is to use earplugs whenever you’re exposed to high sound levels. These can be obtained from most pharmacies for very little cost, and are usually reusable.
With many of us consuming media at least once a day, whether it’s watching TV or listening to music in earphones, monitoring your volume levels is essential. If you’re watching TV or other media, keep the volume at a level that means you’re not straining to hear, while keeping it low enough that you can’t hear it throughout your house2.
In headphones, you should stick to the 60/60 rule – listening for no more than 60 minutes a day with the volume set to maximum 60%1. You should also try and avoid earbuds, which sit right next to your eardrum, aiming for over-the-ear headphones instead1.
If you spend time in a loud area, such as a music show or a noisy bar, try and step outside for a few minutes every now and again to give your ears a rest. Research has shown that for a single loud night out, your ears need more than 16 hours of quiet to recover, so make sure you’re striking a good balance – especially if you’re not using earplugs1.
Cotton swabs, also known as cotton buds, are designed to clean your ears – but have more risk than benefits. You should never put anything in your ears, as this can damage sensitive organs such as your eardrum1. Plus, a bit of wax in your ears is actually healthy, as it stops dust and other harmful particles from entering your ear canal1.
Protect your hearing, get tested and minimise your risk of reduced quality of life today!