Seven Tips to Taking Care of Your Hearing

2014 / 09 / 09  |  
Ways to take care of your ears

Do you care about your ears? The seven must-know tips below are essential to the protection of your hearing.

1. Have your hearing checked regularly!

Our aging contributes to the damage or death of the hair cells inside our ears, leading to hearing deterioration. This is part of the aging process that we will all experience.

However, there are many other causes for hearing problems that can be prevented and avoided, especially noise-induced hearing loss.

To make sure that you do not have any hearing problems other than age-related hearing loss, you should log on to Erdo regularly to update your “Erdo index” and “hearing age.”

Erdo analyzes your current hearing status for you. If any sign of hearing problems is detected, Erdo will advise you to see a doctor for further check-ups. In addition, Erdo saves the online test results for you and your family so that you can keep track of your whole family’s hearing health.

2. Limit the sound level of earphones/headphones to less than 80%.

Did you know? You cannot use your earphones/headphones at a maximum volume for more than five minutes, or you will likely to develop “noise-induced hearing loss.”

Dr. Cory Portnuff, an American audiologist, has made the following recommendations for “earphone sound levels” and “maximum length of time for safe listening” based on his research in music-induced hearing loss in teens and young adults.

A set of numbers you should remember: “80% and 90 minutes.”

That is, an individual can only listen to music for a total of 90 minutes (1.5 hours) a day with in-ear earphones if the volume is at 80 percent of maximum levels.

Percentage of Sound LevelsMaximum Length of Time per Day
(In-ear Earphones)
10~60%Unlimited
70%6 hours
80%90 minutes
90%22 minutes
100%5 minutes

3. Stay away from the noises in life!

You can determine whether or not you are surrounded by “dangerous noises” based on the followings.

  • You have to raise your volume when you speak.
  • You cannot hear what people say when they are more than one meter away from you.
  • After you leave a place, you can only hear unclear sounds when people talk to you.
  • After you leave a place, you experience tinnitus and ear ache.

The international noise standard is that human beings should not be exposed to the sound level of 90 dB for more than eight hours, or the risk of NIHL may occur. The allowed exposure time decreases by half for each 5 dB increase in the average noise level. For instance, exposure is limited to 4 hours at 95 dBA and 2 hours at 100 dBA.

In many places we go in our daily lives, we are exposed to a sound level of more than 90 dB, or even 100 dB.

Do you often go to stores, restaurants, or nightclubs with loud music and noises?

We suggest that you download apps that help determine sound levels. Next time you go to these places, take out your phone and test the sound levels. You’ll see that a lot of these places are filled with incredibly loud noises that are causing damage to your hearing as well as your loved ones’.

4. If you had to go to places where you’d be exposed to high sound levels, please wear ear protections.

For instance, the sound levels at a rock concert can reach 110-120 dB. You can use earplugs designed for concerts before you go. They do not work like traditional earplugs which block all the sounds, but they effectively reduce the sound level while keeping the music and human sounds clear.

It’d be better if you can keep a distance of at least three meters away from the concert sound systems, because the sound level may reach 140 dB during the show and lead to sudden hearing loss or irreversible hearing loss.

5. Stop using cotton swabs to remove earwax!

Our ear canals are self-cleaned. Earwax is formed in the outer third of the ear canal and then moved out of the ear by motions

Some people don’t know that removing earwax with a finger or cotton swabs can lead to many unexpected outcomes as follows:

Earwax is pushed farther into the ears, contributing to the impacted cerumen that impacts hearing;
Constant scratching at the ears can cause raw areas on the surface and may be complicated by a bacterial infection;
Overcleaning may cause the lack of grease in the ears, resulting in the itchiness in the dry ears.

Consequently, most ENT doctors suggest that people should not clean ears themselves. A simple wipe with a cloth will do if you feel the need to get rid of your earwax. If your ears are still feeling weird, you should probably consult an ENT doctor for better treatments.

6. Understand your family history of ear related diseases!

Some hearing losses are hereditary.

Some people with hereditary hearing loss suffered from its impact when they were born, so they needed early treatments. Others with hereditary hearing loss had a normal hearing when they were born, but hearing loss developed as they aged.

This is why you should consider having a genetic test if you know that your family members have hereditary or congenital hearing loss. With early diagnosis and treatment, you can ensure the hearing health for your and your next generation.

7. You can’t be too careful for tinnitus!

Have you ever experienced the following situation? When you are in a quiet environment, you hear a small popping noise coming out of nowhere. The noise could be high-pitched or low-pitched, and it may sound like ringing, ticking, booming, etc.

This is the symptom of tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of sound without an external cause. One out of every five people in Taiwan has had a certain level of tinnitus on average.

Normally, tinnitus does not have a serious impact on our daily life.

You should, however, be really careful if the tinnitus gets louder during a short period of time, occurs in only one ear, or goes hand in hand with symptoms such as vertigo and hearing deterioration. Consult a doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms, as they may be signs of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, acoustic neuroma, and acoustic neuroma.

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