As January rolls in it is the start of the New Year! It’s hard to tell what this next one will mean for us as a society. There is so much changing in the world on environmental and social levels and the changes each year brings can feel monumental. With so much in constant fluctuation, it’s important to carve out some time for your own mental and physical health in 2022. What will you do? Start an exercise routine? Eat healthier? Start a new project you’ve always wanted to try? It’s important to remember that one important part of mental health is physical health.
As hearing healthcare experts, we are particularly concerned with hearing health. When you address your hearing issues you can rest assured that you’ll have stronger relationships in the next year, enhanced mood and more confidence to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself in 2022. Here are a few resolutions you can make around maintaining hearing health in this next year.
Be Prepared to Protect Your Hearing
Hearing loss isn’t just an ear issue but a quality-of-life issue. When you struggle to hear relationships suffer, your sense of self becomes compromised, and you can even suffer cognitive decline. Most cases of hearing loss are permanent, which means it is important to protect hearing while you have it. Noise is one of the most significant risks to hearing health. When sound exceeds a safe listening threshold it can cause excessive vibrations within the inner ear, leading to permanent damage. Sound is measured in decibels and any sound exceeding 85 dB can start to permanently damage your hearing. It is not just the level but the length of time. As the decibels increase the time it takes for damage to incur quickly diminishes. For instance, it takes eight hours of constant exposure to 85 dB for damage to occur. However, at 88 dB only 4 dB higher it takes only 4 hours.
Know the decibels in the places you frequent most. This can usually be determined using free apps available on most smartphones. Always carry hearing protection with you this new year, whether it be foam earplugs or protective earmuffs. Depending on the model hearing protection can reduce the volume by 15-33 dB putting you in a safe listening range.
Lower Volume Settings
One reason a younger generation suffers from more hearing loss than ever before can be attributed to personal listening devices and headphones. These devices can easily deliver volumes as high as 100-110 dB, right to your ears. This can cause damage in 15 minutes or as little as just one minute. With limited streaming of movies and music, you can imagine why this has such an impact on the ears of generations! You can still listen to headphones safely if you limit the volume to no higher than 60% of its total volume potential. In addition, take listening breaks to allow your ears to recover in the new year. You can still enjoy your music and media – just not so loud!
Noise Cancellation Headphones
Many people use headphones for work or school and turn up the volume to block out other distracting sounds and stay focused. This can cause hearing damage quickly as the ambient sound of the room along with the volume of headphones can easily become a prescription for hearing damage quickly. This year invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These amazing devices detect the ambient sound of a room and send a counter tone that cancels it out. It almost sounds like science fiction, but you can enjoy media and music piped to your ears without feeling the need to block out other sounds.
Get Your Hearing Tested!
This New Year, a simple and incredibly functional thing you can do to protect your hearing health is to diagnose a hearing issue early. Schedule a hearing test for the new year so you can know the status of your hearing. You may be surprised!
Many people with hearing issues don’t even know they have a problem. This is in part due to the gradual nature in which hearing loss progresses. At first it may start as just the loss of some sounds but over time it can be hard to follow conversation in most social situations. Diagnosing a hearing loss early can help you avoid many dangerous side effects of hearing loss from progressing and can help you continue to enjoy life into the next year and beyond. Schedule an appointment with us today!