Hearing is something that we often take for granted until we start to lose it. As adults, we rely on our hearing to understand and stay connected with others. When we notice our hearing isn’t quite what it used to be, it can be a confronting experience.
Good hearing is important for children when it comes to learning speech and language and learning to read, write, and develop their social skills. Hearing loss at any stage of development will bring its own set of challenges.
In Australia, around 3.6 million people have hearing loss, and more than 1.3 million people live with a hearing condition that could have been prevented.
The most common causes of hearing loss are age-related and excessive exposure to loud noise. Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise is preventable. One study suggests 37% of Australians have noise-related ear damage.
Research suggests that untreated hearing loss may increase the risk of memory loss and increase the risk of depression in adults.
It is never too soon or too late to start to protecting your hearing. It’s great to see so many new parents using headphones with their babies and children to start the habit young.
Here are 5 Top Tips to protect your hearing
Watch the volume
I know we love to immerse ourselves in sound, whether it’s a movie, our favourite Netflix show or some brilliant music. However, we need to consider the type of headphones we are using and how high we have the volume set.
Over the ear headphones are recommended above earbuds, as there is more room to diffuse the sound.
A good guideline I’ve recently come across is that we should adopt a 60/60 strategy to our entertainment listening - the volume should be no more than 60% of the maximum volume, and listening through headphones should be limited to 60 minutes a day.
2. Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!
Essentially don’t put ANYTHING in your ear. Not even cotton buds. Your ear is delicate, and foreign object poking and prodding around in there can cause some serious damage.
What about the ear wax? Well, wax serves several essential purposes, including keeping our ear canal water-resistant, protecting it against injury and infection, and trapping germs and dust before it gets to our eardrum. If it’s not causing any problems, then leave it there. Your GP can help you clean and manage excessive ear wax safely.
3. Protect your ears from noise
Exposure to noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. When you are in any loud environment for work or recreation, wear ear protection! There are great options for ear protection for babies, children and adults. You are never too young or too old to wear them! Noise-cancelling headphones are a great option to help you blissfully ignore the noise around you!
4. Give your ears a break
You can easily recognise the signs of tired eyes, but can you also recognise when your ears are tired? Just like our vision, our hearing also needs regular rest. Take some time out to sit in stillness, tune in to some of the sounds you hear in nature. Take a walk without your headphones, and give your ears and your auditory system a break. You will find you come back more refreshed and energised, and you will be ready to listen more carefully again.
5. Get your ears and hearing checked
It is wise to keep a close eye on your hearing and ear health. There are so many fantastic resources to help you with any hearing issue you might have, and a hearing loss should never be battled through alone.
Speech Pathologists provide an important support for anyone who finds that their speech is changing due to hearing loss. And of course, we are in the front row seat, helping children with a hearing loss develop their speech, language and communication skills.
📲Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your hearing and support your speech, language and communication skills.
For more information visit:
Parents Guide to Testing