Here are some ideas to reduce ear damage from noise exposure:
1. If it's OSHA, it's OK. If you work in an environment where your hearing is at risk, consult your employer to make sure the ear protection provided to you is OSHA-regulated.
2. Be aware of noises that are ‘too loud’, ‘too close’ or ‘last too long’.
3. Use hearing protection when exposed to dangerous levels of sound. This includes at work, or at home such as when using power tools or listening to music.
4. Turn down the volume on your electronic devices. Good rule of thumb: “60/60”. Listen at 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
5. Watch for signs of hearing loss such as ringing in the ears, trouble understanding speech, and a blocked feeling in the ears.
You may notice more problem hearing and understanding in noise.
6. Shop for sound deals. Compare the decibel output of appliances such as microwaves or dryers. The lower the decibels (the quieter), the better.
7. Antioxidants. Hard to say, easy to swallow. Antioxidants (e.g., vitamins A, C, & E, N-acetylcysteine) can help protect ear cells against free radicals that are generated by loud noise. Yet another reason for eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
If you have trouble hearing, ask your doctor for a hearing test or call toll-free at 855-523-9355 to find a provider near you. The good news is over 90% of people with hearing loss can benefit tremendously from the use of hearing aids. Treating hearing loss early helps the brain maintain speech understanding, resulting in a better outcome.
Reference: Lichenstein et al, Headphone use and pedestrian injury and death in the United States: 2004–2011, Injury Prevention Journal, January 2012.