Damage to your ears from exposure to noise or music is 100% preventable if you consistently remember to use ear protection the right way. We don’t always take steps to protect our ears from the environments that cause harm. The unfortunate result can be loss of hearing or tinnitus (unwanted ear noises).
Most of us don’t think about using ear protection even when we know that the environment is too loud. I was at a concert last weekend where ear plugs were handed out at the door. Mid concert, the only person using ear protection from my vantage point was a beverage server.
It’s not only the the times when we know it’s too loud like the hours spent at a rock concert, using power tools, or standing on the tarmac at the airport.
Most people are surprised to know that the environments they spend time in are harmful to the ears. Places that we assume are safe for the ears may actually cause damage over time.
Several days ago I spoke with a 39 year old who shared his concerns. He has worked in restaurants over the past 20 years. Repeated exposure to sounds that are quite normal for a professional kitchen have done damage to his ears. Repeated exposure to crashing plates and clinking silverware resulted in tinnitus. The tinnitus resulted in months of sleepless nights and anxiety. Fortunately with daily meditation, eliminating caffeine from his diet, tinnitus therapy and the use of custom ear protection he is on his way to managing his new normal. The point is that if ear protection was used, tinnitus would not be an issue.
Urban dwellers may not realize the potential of hearing damage. Walking through a busy part of the city day after day poses risk for damaging ears. Living in Chicago, it’s quite normal to walk under the L tracks or run through union station as we head into the west loop. Traffic noise or riding the train to work every day can lead to permanent hearing loss.
There are a host of sound level meter apps to download that will determine if the environment is too loud. Better yet, the apple watch has a noise app that will alert you when you are hearing at dangerous levels. Consider measuring the environments that you spend time in. You may be surprised to find that it’s much louder than you think.
Use technology to evaluate the loudness of the environment. When you see that your ears are in danger, take action and use ear protection. It is possible to prevent permanent changes to your ears caused by overexposure to loud music and sounds.
Invest in ear protection and take care of your ability to hear. After all, you’re worth it.