How to Prevent Hearing Loss

Ipods and other mp3 players, radios, traffic, loud music at dance clubs, loud trains running, there is so much noise out there that your poor ears are working overtime trying to recover. It used to be that people started to lose their hearing in their 50s and 60s and then it was prevalent to particular occupations such as farming, construction, the airline industry, and other occupations where people are exposed to prolonged loud noises. Now, researchers have found that people are starting to experience some hearing loss and even deafness at an earlier age and this is because our society has not only gotten louder but because of all the personal music players that are so popular with young people. The topic of hearing loss prevention for young adults is now getting more attention.

Sound travels through air by creating air waves. These waves come to our ears and the ear drums vibrate according to the waves. The vibrations are passed along to the cochlea, a bone in our ear, which has 30,000 hairlike protusions. It is these protusions that turn these vibrations into signals which are sent to the brain which interpret it as sound. These hairs can recover from temporary loud noises, however, prolonged exposure to loud noises can wear out these hairs. Once these hairs have worn out then they lose their ability to receive vibrations and send out those signals resulting in hearing loss. The more of these hairs are destroyed, deafness will eventually occur. The loudness of sounds is measured in decibels. Prolonged noise measured above 85 decibels will do damage to your ears and too many noises in our modern life measure at higher decibels.

Steps for Hearing Loss Prevention

Taking steps to prevent hearing loss is easy but you must be vigilant.

  1. Turn down the volume of your mp3 player. Turn down the volume on your radio. Turn down the volume on your boombox. That's right, protect your ears by turning down the volume. If after you've turned the sound off completely, and you have muffled hearing or have ringing in your ears temporarily, you have burdened your cochlea; if you do that often enough you will experience hearing loss.
  2. Keep your exposure to loud noises to 15 minutes when possible. Anything above 80 decibels, the sound of an alarm clock going off, is hazardous. When using your earphones with your mp3 player, don't listen to music at close range for hours. Give it a break after 15 minutes so that your ears can rest.
  3. Buy quality earphones that fit your ears and block the sound of competing noise. Researchers have found that when people wear lesser quality earphones or earphones that don't fit well, they inadvertently increase the volume to block out noise. Whe the earphones deliver purer sound and block out the competing noise, people automatically adjust the volume lower.
  4. Wear ear plugs or earmuffs if you go to an event or place that will expose you to loud noises. Look for ear plugs or earmuffs that have a noise reduction rating of (NRR) of at least 9dB. If you go to a dance club, don't dance or stand near the speakers and be constantly exposed to the loud music. If you are at a sporting event that is noisy, wear earplugs. If you commute and subway noise is loud, wear earplugs. If you work in construction or any workplace where you are exposed to loud noises, wear earplugs or earmuffs. Earplugs and earmuffs are an inexpensive way to protect your ears and prolong your hearing.
  5. Buy low noise appliances. Choose quieter models when you buy children's toys, kitchen and household appliances, power tools, even hair dryers. Look for a noise rating if possible or contact the manufacturer and ask about the noise rating.


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Prevent Hearing Loss by Maintaining New Habits

In addition there are things that you can do to prolong your hearing.

  • Be active. Aerobic activity brings more oxygen to your system and improves blood flow to your ears.
  • Eat more guacamole. It's rich in magnesium and research has shown that high levels of magnesium make you less susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Drink decaf coffee and eat food that has less salt. According to researchers, caffeine inhibits blood flow to the ear while too much salt leads to fluid retention which can cause the organs around the ear to swell.
  • Take good care of your teeth. Researchers find that the more teeth you keep as you get older, the less you will experience hearing loss as you get older. Remember to floss after every meal and brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Incorporate whole grain bread and legumes in your diet. Researchers say these foods are rich in B vitamins that protect the neurons and blood vessels connected to the cochlea.

Hearing loss and eventual deafness is devastating. You will no longer hear music, the chirping of birds, or the sound of your loved ones' laughter. You must learn a whole new way to communicate. Take care of your ears and prevent hearing loss.

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Comments 5 comments

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

1. Do not sit in the front row of a Motorhead concert!

2. Turn your mother-in-law off!!!

3. Don't grow old!!!

.....I wear two hearing aids myself and it's the best thing I ever did - and now I can hear what the neighbors are saying about me behind my back!!!!!!

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi epigramman, #1 is optional while 2 and 3 is impossible. Thanks for reading!

MarianG 6 years ago

Lots of great information here! I've read that a lot people are suffering hearing loss to the IPODS these days sadly enough...

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Yes MarianG, a lot of the kids and young adults will unfortunately pay for their love of music.

Ian Padilla 5 years ago

That was a very concise post. Hearing Loss is a serious problem as millions of our elders live with some level of hearing loss annually. Thanks for bringing this matter to light.

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