Protecting your ears from loud noises is the most important thing you can do to keep your hearing healthy. Our ears are sensitive, and we experience are many different things in our daily lives that can cause permanent hearing damage. While it’s impractical to avoid exposure to every loud noise, the ENTs at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center offer these easy measures you can take to protect your hearing in certain situations.
We all enjoy our smartphones and mobile devices that allow access to our favorite music wherever we go. But keep in mind that playing music too loud over earbuds can cause hearing damage! Because earbuds and headphones project sound directly into our ear canals, we must avoid the urge to crank the volume all the time. When listening to music, keep your device’s volume at a moderate level to prevent permanent damage to your ear drum. Also, limit the time you spend with earbuds in your ears—give your ears a break from the noise!
Speaking of music, we all enjoy going to concerts too. But in most music venues, especially indoors, the sound is deafening (literally!). Many people arrive at concerts without even thinking about the possibility of permanent hearing damage from the speakers. This can be easily prevented by purchasing inexpensive foam earplugs to bring to a concert (or other loud event such as a fireworks display or airshow).
Wearing earplugs or earmuffs when doing loud activities like mowing your yard or working with power tools is another easy way to prevent hearing loss. Mowing the lawn seems harmless enough, but your proximity to the loud machine exposes your ears to damage. The same goes for using electric saws, drills, and other tools. Avoid hearing damage while you work by putting in foam earplugs or wearing earmuffs (or both together, if your activity is extremely loud). Earmuffs and plugs can be purchased at virtually any hardware store or “big box” store.
Aside from noise, hearing loss can also come from earwax buildup. Some people produce more ear wax than others, and feel the need to clear the wax out more often. But it’s extremely important to deal with the wax properly! Many people use cotton swabs (q-tips), but this can hurt your hearing by compacting the wax against your eardrum! Instead, allow the earwax to clear out of your ear naturally—you can loosen it up with water or baby oil, and it will likely come out naturally. If it doesn’t, make an appointment with your ENT doctor to have the wax removed safely.
Keep your sense of hearing strong! Even if you take these steps to protect your hearing, you should still make periodic appointments with your ENT doctor to check on your ears. And of course, your doctor will always have great advice on how to continue to take the best care of your hearing. For more information, contact the ENTs of Arkansas Otolaryngology Center at any of our locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Benton. AOC is home to your local Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors and Allergist!