National Protect Your Hearing Month

September 28, 2021 | by BMI Staff

The best time to start looking after your hearing is right now. National Protect Your Hearing Month exists to warn us of the permanence of hearing loss. Damage to our hearing is not reversible. Fortunately, there are some easy changes we can make in order to preserve our hearing health for the long-term.

Wear Earplugs

Don’t fall into the large population of Americans that have suffered noise-related hearing loss. If you work in or are otherwise consistently present in a loud environment, make sure to take the easy precaution of using earplugs. Some additional activities that could benefit from this usage are attending concerts, mowing lawns, operating heavy machinery, or any other activity that requires shouting in order to be heard by someone close. 

Turn Down the Volume

When using headphones to enjoy music, be sure to follow the sixty-sixty rule, which is to never exceed 60% of the total volume allowable on the device for a maximum of sixty minutes per day. Earbuds that enter the ear are dangerous, due to their close proximity to the eardrum. For this reason, it is recommended to use over-ear headphones. 

Let Your Ears Recover

Even with the best of intentions, we all end up around loud noises on occasion. If you do find yourself in a particularly noisy environment, allow your ears to rest as often as possible. Step outside, when feasible. Once your loud festivities are finished, give yourself around 16 hours of quiet to recover. Researchers have found this amount of time to be the average needed to heal from a loud event. 

Stop Using Cotton Swabs

That is, in your ears. The use of cotton swabs is all too common and equally as damaging. Rather than accomplishing the task we think we are, cleaning out wax, we are inadvertently disrupting the normal and healthy buildup of wax that our ears need. The ear is self-cleaning, but in order to accomplish this it relies on wax to stop external particles from entering the ear canal. Additionally, swabbing ears pushes the wax deeper, impacting the eardrum.  

Avoid Taking Certain Medications

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of things, but a common contributor might be one you least expect. Taking NSAIDS, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can actually contribute to hearing loss. Only take these medications as directed.

Keep Your Ears Dry

Wet ears can allow harmful bacteria to grow, putting the ear canal in danger. This type of bacterial infection, otherwise known as swimmer’s ear, can cause hearing loss. One precaution for staying ahead of swimmer’s ear is thoroughly towel drying ears after they’ve been submerged in water. We all know the feeling of having water trapped in our ears. When that happens, tilt your head to the side and tug on the ear lobe to coax out any trapped water. 

Perform Cardio Exercises

It may seem surprising how many things can impact our ear health, but one of the positive ways we can impact our hearing is to perform exercises that get the blood pumping, such as walking and running. This increase in blood flow allows all organs (including our ears!) to operate at their fullest potential.