The “Trick” of Hearing Protection Is a Communication “Treat”
While October conjures images of pumpkins and kids in costumes excited for Halloween, the month’s lesser-known honor is “National Protect Your Hearing Month.” Together with the American Academy of Audiology, the National Institute of Health gives this title to October as a way to raise the nation’s awareness of noise-induced hearing loss and methods to prevent it.
The World Health Organization believes nearly 1 billion people worldwide are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss (or more formally, “sensorineural hearing loss”), with tens of millions of those in the U.S. While those are scary numbers, the good news is this form of loss is 100% preventable by the use of proper hearing protection.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has hearing loss, protecting all the hearing you have is still important. Your residual hearing can be an important component in smoothing personal interactions, and through assistive technology, it can play an important role in connecting with family and friends.
For example, maybe you have a daughter who lives in a different state. Difficulty hearing on the phone can make conversations frustrating for both of you. Assistive technology like New Jersey CapTel, a free captioned telephone service, amplifies the sound on the phone while it simultaneously displays live, on-screen captions of your phone conversation. Your residual hearing enables you to hear what you can, while the captions let you read anything you may miss. Together, these make your phone conversations with your daughter much easier for both sides.
So how do you protect your hearing? EarQ, lists several simple ways:
- Turn down the music. With so many devices and services delivering exactly the kind of music you want directly to your ears, it’s easy to listen when it’s too loud and for too long. Keep the volume at a low level and limit the total amount of time you use headphones.
- Wear Ear Plugs. Whether from loud workplace machinery, or ordinary loud tasks around the house—like running the lawnmower, protect your hearing with earplugs. You may not realize how loud the environment is, but your hearing can be compromised by the exposure. Buying and using a set of easy-to-get, inexpensive earplugs, is a simple step you can take to protect your hearing.
- Give your ears a break. A kid’s birthday party at a fast food “PlayPlace” can be just as damaging to your hearing as a great concert. Extended exposure to noisy environments takes a toll on hearing. You can help by giving your ears a break. Leaving the environment for just 15 minutes helps your ears recover, and reduces the risk of hearing loss.
- Skip the Swabs. Cotton swabs in your ears may seem like a good idea, but you risk damaging your eardrum and other sensitive organs. Your ears are self-cleaning, and a bit of wax is not only normal, it helps protect your ears from harmful particles getting in the ear canal. Remember the old saying: never stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow.
- Keep ‘em Dry. Moisture can breed bacteria, so after swimming make sure you dry your ears well. If you feel water in your ear, a gentle tug on your lobe and head tilt will get the water out.
Whether you’re preserving your own residual hearing, or helping a loved one avoid hearing loss altogether, these tips are an good reminder of how easy it is to protect everyone’s hearing.
This October, whether you’re herding a band of screaming trick-or-treaters from house to house, or planning a concert pilgrimage to see your favorite band, remember your ears. They’ll thank you, and your friends and family will too.
Posted by NJAdmin on Oct 18, 2016