These eight everyday activities could harm your hearing

Hearing loss is often associated with aging or exposure to loud noises in industrial environments; however, what many people don’t realize is that everyday activities can also pose a risk to our hearing health. From seemingly harmless habits to routine activities, several common practices can gradually damage our ears over time. Let’s explore some of these unassuming culprits:

  1. Listening to loud music – Nowadays, we often use headphones or earbuds to enjoy music, podcasts and videos, but listening at high volumes for extended periods can lead to irreversible hearing damage. Experts recommend keeping the volume at 60% of the maximum and taking regular breaks to give your ears a rest.
  2. Using cotton swabs – While it may seem like a hygienic practice, inserting cotton swabs into the ear canal can push wax deeper and potentially, cause blockages or damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear. Instead, opt for safer methods like ear drops or seeking help from your local audiologist if you begin to experience excessive wax buildup.
  3. Exposure to traffic noise – Living or working in urban areas exposes us to constant traffic noise from cars, trucks, and public transportation. Prolonged exposure to this ambient noise can contribute to hearing loss over time, but depending on where you live, these noises can be unavoidable. Treat yourself to some time away every once in a while. Some quiet can be very refreshing.
  4. Attending loud events – Concerts, sporting events, and dance clubs often feature loud music and cheering crowds, and without proper ear protection, exposure to these high decibel levels can cause temporary or permanent hearing damage. Invest in quality earplugs designed for musicians or concert-goers to enjoy these events safely.
  5. Using power tools and machinery – Construction workers and DIY enthusiasts often use power tools and heavy machinery, which produce loud noises capable of causing hearing loss. Always wear ear protection like earmuffs or earplugs when operating loud equipment to reduce the risk of damage.
  6. Watching TV at high volumes – Many of us enjoy relaxing in front of the TV after a long day, but habitually watching at high volumes can harm our hearing. Consider using closed-captioning or subtitles to follow along without cranking up the volume, and be mindful of the recommended sound levels provided by manufacturers.
  7. Participating in watersports – Activities like swimming, surfing, or jet skiing can be refreshing and exhilarating on a hot day, but they also expose our ears to water, which can lead to infections and/or temporary hearing loss. Keep your ears dry by wearing waterproof ear plugs designed for aquatic activities.
  8. Exercising outdoors – Activities like biking, running, or hiking outdoors can expose us to wind noise, which, combined with the physical exertion, can increase the risk of hearing damage. If you’re moving at a speed that might result in loud noises, wear ear protection designed for sports to help prevent harm to your hearing. 

While we may not always associate everyday activities with hearing loss, it’s important to recognize the potential risks and take proactive measures to protect our ears. Whether it’s lowering the volume on devices, wearing ear protection in noisy environments, or seeking medical advice for persistent symptoms, prioritizing our hearing health can help preserve our ability to enjoy the sounds of life for years to come.

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