7 Harmful Habits That Could Damage Your Hearing
We love going to concerts, blasting music on full volume through our headphones and enjoying being social at sporting events or noisy bars and cafes. Unfortunately, many of us are not aware of the fact that these activities, however fun they may be, are a large factor for our hearing health.
To help you minimise the risk of suffering from hearing damage, we’ll have a look at the bad habits that can cause hearing loss and uncover how you can take better care of yourself.
Good hearing hygiene should be everyone’s priority. Healthy habits ensure that you continue hearing at your best for a long time, preventing you from missing out on sounds that are meaningful to you.
What are good hearing health habits?
Practising good hearing habits includes protecting your hearing, refraining from inserting objects into your ear and having your hearing assessed annually or when you feel something is not right. Often getting a free hearing test near you can be the first step to healthy ear health.
Habits that can harm your hearing health
1. Skipping the annual hearing check
One thing you want to avoid is skipping your annual hearing assessment. Regardless of whether you have a hearing loss or not, it is always good to attend an annual hearing test. This is because hearing loss may develop gradually and if you visit the Audiologists often, you will most likely be able to detect symptoms of hearing loss and take immediate action as you require to.
This is to ensure your hearing is healthy and has not changed due to unknown or unforeseeable circumstances. Like other physical examinations, hearing checks should be done regularly as well. You should visit your local hearing clinic for a free hearing test. It is easier if you ask your primary healthcare physician to include routine hearing assessment into your regular check-ups.
2. Using cotton swabs
It is very common for everyone to have the tendency to clean their ears with cotton swabs, especially after a shower to try and remove wax from their ears. However, it is not advisable to use cotton swabs as accidents can happen, and you may perforate your eardrums which can lead to terrible outcomes for your hearing health.
Ears of their own nature are self-cleaning organs which stop foreign objects such as bugs, ants or other insects to enter your ears. If you have an excess wax problem, visit your GP or enquire for a free hearing test near you so the audiologist can have a look in your ear and let you know the best solution.
3. Not wearing hearing protection
This can be either through occupation or through leisure environments. In situations like concerts or moving your lawn where you need to shout to the person next to you so they can hear your voice – these are instances where your hearing can get damaged.
The sound levels are dangerously harmful to your hearing health and would cause a permanent hearing loss. If you feel like you cannot hear after an incident involving loud noise, visit your nearest hearing clinic for a free hearing test to ensure rehabilitation or other measures can be implemented.
For example, earplugs are very easy to obtain, and they are convenient to carry around with you. If you are a musician, you can get custom earplugs which can filter our sounds to allow you hear other people and music but at the same time, reduce the risk of harmful sounds damaging your hearing.
4. Listening to loud music
Teenagers and young adults are most susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe use of different audio devices. Listening to music through headphones or earbuds is very satisfying and it creates your own space, however, there are many consequences to your ear health from listening to loud music.
It has been suggested that listening to music with headphones at 60 per cent or less volume level for 60 minutes or less a day is the cut-off level for the prevention of hearing damage from excessive noise exposure. Always choose headphones over earbuds as earbuds sit closer to your eardrums.
5. Not giving your ears time to recover
If your job involves being around loud noise for hours or if you have been to a concert or a bar, give your ears some time to recover. Take a 5-10 minutes break and go out in the quiet every so often to let your ears rest. Researchers found that on an average, most people need about 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out.
6. Not keeping your ears dry
The middle part of the ear, where the eardrum is, is an air-filled cavity. So, excess moisture will cause imbalance to the middle ear system and allow bacteria to pass through and infect the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which is unhealthy and not safe for your hearing health.
It is always wise to gently dry your ears after swimming or shower with towel or tissue-spears. Lightly tilt your head to one side to let the water out by tugging on your earlobe softly. If your ears still feel wet, visit your physician to get it looked at. If sounds around you start sounding muffled, visit your nearest hearing clinic for a hearing check.
7. Stress and lack of exercise
The benefits of exercising include your hearing health as well! Cardio exercises such as running, walking or cycling increase blood flow to the ear. This helps the inner parts of the ears to stay healthy and allows them to work at their maximum potential. Stress on the other hand is detrimental to your hearing health as it has been linked to causing tinnitus i.e. ringing in your ears.
This is because the same part of the brain, which is responsible for hearing, is also responsible for our emotions – the limbic system. Therefore, when you are tired, fatigued or under a high amount of pressure, you feel like you cannot hear as well as you used to, or you perceive the ringing in your ears. You can visit an Audiologist for more information on different strategies that can help with tinnitus and who knows, you might get a free hearing test as well.
Get your hearing checked by a specialist
To find out if your hearing has already been affected by your bad habits, we recommend scheduling a full diagnostic hearing assessment with a hearing healthcare specialist. A hearing test enables you to gauge your ability to hear the different loudness levels across different pitches of sounds.
Audiologists use a variety of tests to assess your hearing levels, depending on your age and your circumstances. Many audiologists offer free hearing tests that can give you a better understanding of the state of your hearing health and the ways in which you can preserve your hearing.
If you’d like to learn more about how to protect your hearing, check out our recent blog post on the top five ways to prevent hearing loss and protect your hearing.
Once you lose your hearing, it is gone for good.
Unfortunately, there are no ways to reverse a permanent hearing loss, but it is possible to restore hearing with the help of hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. Book yourself in to speak with one of our friendly hearing health professionals if you are unsure where to start. There are also plenty of hearing clinics that do free hearing tests. To find a hearing clinic near you, visit our homepage or give us a call.