When is the last time you had your hearing checked?

9364942323_64eb34d980_b“Can you speak up? I can’t hear you.”

You may have heard this when talking with your grandparents or some of the older adults in your life. But did you know that hearing loss, though more common in older individuals, actually affects 20 percent of adultsin the U.S. to some extent – that’s 48 million people! It also effects 2 or 3 out of every 1000 children. As people age, hearing loss becomes much more prominant. One-third of people experience hearing loss at the age of 65.

Here are a few facts and tips about hearing loss and how to protect your ears:

  • Causes of hearing loss are mainly due to something affecting the middle or inner ear. Other causes include wax buildup, ear infection, trauma to the ear or head and rupturing of the ear drum.
  • Listening to anything above 85 dB can affect the ears in as soon as 15 minutes. Taking short, quiet 15 minute breaks can help make sure that your ears are unharmed. However, it is possible to have exposure to a sound of 85 dB for eight hours without harming your ears.
  • If you have to raise your voice to be heard you are most likely in an unsafe sound environment. An unsafe sound environment includes any sort of loud musical concert, use of loud tools such as hammers, power drills, saws or jackhammers, or driving at high speeds with the windows down. Steering clear of these unsafe sound environments as much as possible will ensure that your ears are protected.
  • When at a concert, move away from any sort of on-stage monitors or amplifiers. Try to position yourself so you are not directly in front of any speaker if you are listening or performing. These monitors and amplifiers can reach way above the 85 dB mark which, if exposed to for long periods of time, can damage your hearing.
  • Many people haven’t had their ears tested since they were in grade school. Getting your hearing checked at least once as an adult is a great idea. This can be done at an annual physical exam or at your own convenience. Your primary doctor is capable of performing a basic ear test.

Ears are a very sensitive part of our bodies and in turn they must be taken care of carefully. If any sort of hearing loss occurs it is important to visit a doctor immediately. Also, steering clear from loud equipment and concerts will help protect your hearing, especially in the long run.

Photo Credit: eltpics

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