As much as 15% – 20% of Alaska’s population suffer from hearing loss. And the numbers are only growing, especially in the younger Alaska population who need to protect hearing. Youth today constantly listen to music on iPods, cell phones and in their cars.
Another Alaska populace group that needs to protect hearing are the construction and industrial workers and other trades the operate loud equipment and machinery.
Chances are you assume everyone else is suffering hearing loss but you’re somehow immune. That’s just not true. Everyone is at risk for hearing loss, especially if you don’t protect your ears.
Dr. Emily McMahan details five ways to protect hearing and your ears from hearing loss below.
1. Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Loud Noises – Protect Hearing
Loud noises are brutal on your ears and don’t protect hearing. Rock concerts are an easy and obvious target since the volume is loud and it’s almost a badge of honor to leave the show with ringing ears. But you can damage your hearing just as easily by not protecting your ears while mowing a lawn, working with power equipment or attending a NASCAR race.
You may not always be able to avoid loud noises, but you can limit your exposure. Sometimes that’s as easy as giving your ears a break by walking away from the loud noise for 10 minutes or so to protect hearing. Even better, you can use earplugs or simply turn down the volume wherever possible.
2. Turn the Volume Down – Protect Hearing
Teenagers might disagree, but louder isn’t better. Just ask any factory worker, rock musician or coal miner who suffers from hearing loss or deafness in their later years as a result of failing to protect hearing.
The louder the music, the more likely it will become distorted. In fact, music sounds better at lower levels that don’t harm your ears. So drop the volume on your TV, cell phone, iPod and car stereo and give your ears the break they deserve.
3. Use Earplugs Around Loud Noises – Protect Hearing
Pay attention to people who work in a loud environment and you’ll often spy something subtle: earplugs that protect hearing in nearly everyone’s ears. Visit a gun range and you’ll discover that many people who are serious about shooting are just as serious about using earplugs before they fire a weapon. Attend a concert and you’ll likely spy crew members wearing earplugs. Watch professional landscapers work and you’ll often find every member of the crew wearing earplugs.
These are smart choices people who work around loud noises make daily.
Earplugs are inexpensive and you can pick them up at grocery stores and home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes. They fit inside your ear and reduce noise levels.
A slightly more expensive option is a pair of simple earmuffs that reduce loud noises by surrounding your ear. We recommend you try both earplugs and earmuffs. Both work well and are well worth the small investment.
4. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones – Protect Hearing
We’re big fans of noise-cancelling headphones. The most popular are manufactured by Bose and you’ve likely seen these noise-reducing headphones on airplanes since they are a frequent-flyer favorite.
Noise-cancelling headphones reduce ambient noise. Simply flip a switch and the noise around you decreases, which means you can reduce the volume of your music, which is great for your ears. We recommend our patients use noise-reducing headphones while mowing the lawn, riding in airplanes or anywhere loud noises can damage hearing. They’re not inexpensive—new Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones start at $300 for a pair—but they can prove invaluable in protecting your hearing and are worth the investment.
5. Get Regular Hearing Checkups – Protect Hearing
Did you know that most people wait years after they first notice hearing loss before they request a hearing test or meet with an audiologist? And many inflict additional damage during the time they ignore hearing problems or rationalize their decision to not visit an audiologist because their hearing loss “isn’t serious” or “the damage is already done.”
See an audiologist as soon as you recognize hearing problems or loss. They are trained to recognize problems and can help improve your quality of life. They may recommend hearing aids, assistive listening devices or simple lifestyle changes that can protect your hearing.
Meet With Dr. Emily McMahan
Hearing loss can be prevented. Audiologist Dr. Emily McMahan can help diagnose and prevent future hearing loss by pinpointing problems long before they become serious. She also has the best selection of hearing aids in Alaska and seven convenient locations.
Schedule Now 907.522-4357 [email protected]