Our ears and ability to hear are just one of the many things we take for granted on a daily basis, but if we don’t look after our ears and hearing throughout our lives then they’re something that could be taken away from us. If you want to give yourself the best chance of crystal clear hearing as you get older then here are 4 things you should try to avoid.
Using Cotton Buds
Although cotton buds may seem like the perfect implement for removing excess earwax they can actually do a lot more harm than good. Many otolaryngologists will be able to tell you many horror stories about burst eardrums as a result of accidents with cotton buds but the most common issue caused by using them is wax compaction. When you try to clean your ears with a cotton bud you’re in fact often just pushing wax down deeper into the ear canal, which can then cause an uncomfortable build-up and even give you problems hearing. If you’re worried about a build-up of wax then consult a professional and leave the cotton buds well alone.
Listening to Loud Music
Many people enjoy listening to loud music but anything over 85 decibels could cause you to experience tinnitus or serious permanent damage to your hearing. If you find yourself regularly increasing the volume due to outside distraftions then it may be worth investing in some noise-cancelling headphones which will enable you to turn the volume down a little. It’s also recommended that you try not to listen to loud music for too long at any one time and if possible you should try to give your ears a 5-minute break once every hour. If you regularly like visiting nightclubs or live music gigs then try to stay away from the speakers where the sound is loudest and if possible wear earplugs, they won’t mute the sound but will bring the volume down a little to a safer level.
Many people fail to get their hearing tested, if you’re one of them then it’s time to book a check-up. Hearing appointments can pinpoint any problems with your hearing before they get too bad, the appointments are often free and you can then sit and learn more about any required treatment options, such as a hearing aids, with your practitioner. It’s recommended that you have a checkup once every 10 years until you are 30 and then once every 3 years from thereon.
Exposing Yourself to Loud Noises in General
By far the biggest damaging factor to your hearing is loud noise and that doesn’t just mean music. Any sound over 85 decibels can be damaging to your hearing, that includes work machinery, the lawnmower, power tools and gunshots. If you regularly work around something very noisy then your employer should provide you with suitable hearing protection, if you use these tools at home then it may be worth investing in some ear defenders if you want to avoid hearing problems later in life.