1) No more denial!
Invest in quality of life. Hearing loss is a communication disorder that affects every aspect of life. Do not deny the symptoms any longer. Instead, find out what the problem might be. Hearing challenges cannot always be credited to “just aging.” Get a medical opinion and professional hearing tests. Give yourself a chance at better hearing and move on with life.
2) Quit smoking!
Smoking and second-hand smoke increase the risk for hearing loss. Nicotine and carbon monoxide starve the ears of oxygen, which is important for the function of the inner-ear hearing cells. Once damaged, these cells do not repair themselves.
3) Protect ears from noise on-and-off the job
The world keeps on getting louder. Nowadays, our social, sports and leisure activities can be just as loud—if not louder—than noisy industrial jobs. At work, we must protect the ears from noise. But what do we do during our off time? So, invest in hearing protection. Learn how to apply it correctly and never leave home without it. Remember, if you must shout to be heard, it is way too loud!
4) How loud is it? How about a phone app?
Overall, phone apps that measure sound levels do a pretty good job answering the question: “How noisy is this place? The maximum permissible sound level for unprotected human ears is 85 dB. If the app chimes a warning, it is best to take heed. Get away from the noise, turn down the volume or use hearing protection. Less noise makes for longer, better hearing.
5) Invest in children’s hearing
Prolonged and repeated exposures to loud sound can permanently damage hearing. Young people are very much at risk. So, talk to them about this concern. Tell them why it is important to turn down the volume. Lead by example! Wear ear protection in loud places. Reduce sound levels on the home entertainment center and car stereo.
If you do not know that much about noise-induced hearing loss, learn about it, for the kids’ sake. Investing in children’s hearing might well be the best deed of the New Year.
To learn about ears and hearing, please see my book on hearing loss: What Did You Say? An Unexpected Journey into the World of Hearing Loss, now in its second updated edition. Sharing my story and what I had to learn the hard way.