Stress is a fact of life, but it’s not just our brains that feel it – our ears are also on the frontline. Even catching the tube to work can be a stress on our hearing. So how can we combat these daily plights? This is our quick guide to living with five of the most common threats to your hearing.
1. Excessively loud noise
The World Health Organization tells us that any sound over 85 decibels is potentially harmful to our hearing. To put this into context, a lawnmower is around 90 decibels. Listening to something this loud for more than a few hours could put you at an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss. It’s important to remember that our hearing cells, once damaged, can’t regenerate.
So what can you do to protect yourself? A good solution is to invest in a pair of ear plugs. You’ll find a range of foam, silicone and rubber plugs on the high street, each offering varied degrees of hearing protection. Pop into your local THCP practice to grab a pair of ear plugs.
2. Difficulty hearing conversations
It may not be you who first notices you’re struggling to hear. If you develop hearing loss, it’s possible a loved one or close friend will pick up on the signs before you do. Whether it’s you or a partner that suspects your hearing isn’t as sensitive as it used to be, it’s time to book a hearing test just in case.
If you struggle to hear and take part in normal conversations against the busy sonic backdrop of a coffee shop or restaurant, you might need a hearing aid. Oticon is a renowned hearing aid brand, and the Oticon Opn S is the newest member of its range. It boasts three different fitting styles and has a rechargeable option, giving wearers a full day of hearing support on only three hours of charge.
3. Using headphones
Listening to your favourite tracks might seem like a harmless activity, but pumping loud music into our ears can cause noise-induced hearing loss – the second biggest cause of hearing loss.
A good trick is to use your smartphone’s volume limiter to ensure your music doesn’t surpass 85 decibels. The alternative would be to invest in some noise cancelling headphones, a worthwhile investment for ear protection if you’re a frequent traveller or music lover.
4. Coping with tinnitus
If you have tinnitus, you’ll understand the stress it can cause. The constant ringing or buzzing sound can be extremely frustrating. But while there’s no cure for this condition, there are ways to ease the symptoms.
Treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help, and some hearing aids have tinnitus settings to help control the symptoms. Ask your hearing care specialist for more information on how to control tinnitus.
5. Dealing with age-related hearing loss
It’s perfectly natural for our hearing to deteriorate as we age – in fact, the most common reason people lose their hearing is age-related.
But that doesn’t mean you should just ‘put up with it’. In fact, recent studies have found a link between age-related hearing loss and dementia. So along with a good diet and making general healthy lifestyle choices, hearing care treatments can also potentially help in the fight against dementia.