GREENSBORO, N.C. — Whether it’s because we played in a college band, cranked up our headphones too loud, or used power tools without proper ear protection, most of us will experience some hearing loss as we get older. The good news is that there are steps we can take now to preserve the hearing we have.
Consumer Reports explains how people of all ages are vulnerable, and audiologists say it’s important to understand the causes.
"Hearing isn’t damaged just by high-level sound, it’s damaged by high-level sound over a period of time by some of the things we do over and over throughout our lives," said Brian Fligor, Audiologist.
For example, just 15 minutes at a football game in a stadium may cause hearing damage, and just 5 minutes listening to a very loud TV or music turned all the way up on an iPhone with standard earbuds on.
So if you attend games and concerts often or crank up your iPhone volume daily, your risk for hearing loss increases.
Consumer Reports says one trick is to minimize the intensity of noises around you. Use noise-canceling headphones that shut out background clamor so you can keep the volume at a low level.
If you operate a lawnmower or power tools regularly, wear earmuffs or earplugs that reduce noise back down to normal conversation level.
Did you know that many TVs have an automatic turn-down function during loud, action-packed sequences? It’s usually found under the “assistive features” in your TV sound settings and may be called “auto volume” or “dynamic range protection.”
If you think you may have hearing loss, consider getting tested. The earlier you get help, the better.