Your ears are more sensitive than you think. When you are young and carefree, playing your music loudly, going to concerts, or heading out to loud bars, doesn’t seem like much of an issue. The real fact however, is that once ears are damaged, hearing loss cannot be reversed. Below is a list of things you need to be concerned when thinking about preserving the health of your ears.
1. Your job
While work in general is not a real cause for hearing loss, especially if you work in an office, other workplaces can be dangerous to your ears over long periods of time. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), repeat or prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can damage your hearing permanently.
To give you an idea of what 85 decibels sounds like, a normal conversation between two people is 60 decibels. The noise that comes from heavy traffic is around 85 decibels while something like fireworks can go to 150 or higher. The longer you are exposed to 85 decibels or higher, the more potential you have to facing hearing loss.
It may be a surprise to some people, but when it comes to the workforce, long exposure to 85 decibels and more happen every day at workplaces. If you work in construction and are around hammering, welding, jackhammering and other noises, you are more at risk.
2. Your music
As mentioned earlier, years of listening to music loudly could unfortunately lead to hearing problems. In fact, WHO says that the 1 billion young adults in danger of hearing loss have that danger because of personal audio devices or entertainment venues.
Depending on the choice of entertainment, you could be listening to sounds that are 100 decibels or more, a level only safe for a few minutes. According to WHO, you should limit your tunes to just 60 minutes total within a day. If you do decide to go to concerts, it is recommended you wear earplugs.
3. Your medicine
Have you ever suspected your medication as a cause for your hearing problems? They can be, and experts even have a name for them —— ototoxic drugs.
These medicines commonly damage hearing by impairing the inner ear:
- Some antibiotics
- Diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure
- High doses of aspirin or ibuprofen
- Cancer-treating medicines
Older people and patients taking more than one of these medicines have a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss. You may notice symptoms like ringing in the ears and vertigo rather quickly after starting the medication. If this happens, let your doctor know right away so that he can work out an alternative.
4. Your smoking habit
Nothing good comes from smoking, but did you know smoking can actually cause hearing problems?. It does so by constricting the blood vessels, narrowing passage for blood to be pumped through your body. The main culprit for this effect is nicotine.
What you might not know is that this constricting can have effects on other areas of the body too, including your ears. As you smoke, the blood vessels in the ears get constricted slightly, and this can lead to a decrease in hearing over time.
Plain and simple, kick the habit…now!
5. Your car or bike
Last, you might be damaging your ears just by driving around your fancy car. Traffic in general can produce a high amount of noise, but when you put the top down on your treasured convertible, you are actually increasing that level. Here’s an entry prom a past blog that discusses research showing that cyclists can potentially be at risk for hearing loss.