Struggling with a hearing loss can be hard, and with two-thirds of those experiencing it before the age of 65, many don’t know that it isn’t just senior citizens who encounter this issue. While we learn from a young age, the importance of protecting our skin and our eyes, hearing protection is much less commonly taught. However, some might say—myself included—that protecting your ears from the elements is just as important as protecting your skin from the cold or your eyes from the sun. This being said, I would like to provide you with 10 easy ways to protect your ears from the harmful damage the outside world can cause them.

1. Avoid loud and prolonged noises

One of the most common sources of hearing damage and loss is exposure to extremely loud noises as well as what we may see (or hear, I suppose) as normal volume noises for an extended period. Most people know that listening to very loud noises at things like concerts and sporting events is not good for your ears. Still, it is also essential to remember that listening to slightly loud noises—I’m looking at you, AirPods—for prolonged periods can be just as damaging. So, if you’ve got your headphones in and have your volume above a four right now, I challenge you to give your ears a break. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, it might do your ears some good.

2. Wear ear protection!

Noise-canceling headphones are rapidly growing in popularity and for a good reason! Blocking out outside noises is soothing to us, which may be our body’s way of telling us it’s the right thing to be doing. So, I recommend keeping earplugs, earmuffs, noise-canceling headphones, or anything similar in places where loud noises often occur, such as the garage or your car, so protecting your ears can become more convenient and, in turn, more of a habit.

3. Watch out for the weather

Believe it or not, the cold can be just as damaging to your ears as your fingers and toes. Wearing beanies, head wraps, or earmuffs are not only fashionable but also functional! Make sure to incorporate ear protection into your winter outfit of the day, whether you’re just going out to the grocery store or going on an exciting ski trip this winter.

4. Stay healthy

Just like other parts of your body, your ears can be affected by poor health and lifestyle decisions. Eating well, staying hydrated, and avoiding unhealthy activities, such as smoking, can help prevent ear and hearing damage over time.

5. Be aware of family history

Know your family’s medical history and if it includes any kind of hearing conditions because some can be genetic (thanks, Mom and Dad). This will help you know what kind of preventative measures you should be taking and help facilitate conversations with your healthcare provider on symptoms and treatments for hearing loss.

6. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of hearing loss

Many people don’t realize that they are experiencing some form of hearing loss until it has developed a great deal because it can be hard to detect and is hardly ever immediate. If you can identify possible hearing loss early on, it is easier to treat and prevent.

7. Listen to your friends and family

If your friends poke fun at you because you say “what?” nearly every time they try to talk to you, this may be an indicator that you have or are developing some sort of hearing loss. If your friends and family are telling you that you should get your hearing checked out, it may be best to listen to them.

8. Get tested regularly

We all know the importance of yearly visits for our overall health, and hearing health is no different! When your nurse or physician asks if you would like to take the optional hearing exam, it is always worth it to say yes. And if they don’t ask, it is worth it to inquire! Being aware that the health of your ears is just as important as the health of your stomach or throat.

9. Understand and utilize your results

Your Hearing Care Provider will help you to read and understand your hearing exam results. Remember, there are no wrong questions! If there is something you don’t understand, don’t ever hesitate to ask.

10. Use your hearing aid

If your hearing test indicates that you would benefit from a hearing aid, make sure you fully understand your options before making a decision on which one is best for you. And, of course, once you receive your hearing aids, be sure to use them regularly! Incorporating them into your daily life can vastly improve your health.

And that’s it! Easy enough, right? Now that you’re aware of some great ways to protect your hearing go out and use them! Your ears will thank you.

If you would like more information on how to prevent hearing loss, then please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We are here to help you with all your hearing needs, big or small!

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Mark D. Johnson, HAS, BC-HIS, A.C.A.

Mark began his career in the hearing healthcare field in 1993 with a major hearing aid/care provider. He opened his own practice in 1994 in Orlando, Fl.  In 1995, he became board-certified, and through continued training received his A.C.A. credentialing as a certified audioprosthologist in 1997. He has conducted many hearing educational workshops, both for professionals and for the general public, and trained many individuals in the hearing healthcare field.