Whether or not there are actually more ‘unlucky’ accidents or injuries on Friday the 13th, what is true is that being able to hear a warning call, or noise of danger, can help keep you safe!
According to Hidden Hearing, 86% of hearing loss in Ireland is untreated, for various reasons. And poor hearing leaves people vulnerable, especially older people, the audiologists say.
But there is more than luck involved in protecting your hearing, and Dolores Madden of Hidden Hearing has this advice on the risks;
Power tools are hazardous to hearing health. Lawn mowers can have a sound above 90 decibels, and a power saw can exceed 110 db. Always wear proper ear protection when using them; it is sold where power tools are bought!
At a concert or nightclub, take precautions, including earplugs or noise-dampening headphones, and never stand next to the loud speakers at a music venue. Even cinemas these days can be exceptionally loud. Break away from loud areas for 10 minutes every hour.
One in three airline passengers suffer middle ear pain and dull hearing on take-off or landing, due to changes in cabin pressure. For a more comfortable trip suck on a sweet, yawn to keep your Eustachian tubes open, stay hydrated and avoid falling asleep.
Swimmer’s ear is a common painful ailment than can be helped by wearing swimming ear plugs or special neoprene hats with ear protection. Make sure ear canals are clear of water after swimming or showering by drying gently with a towel or hair dryer, and tilting your head to each side to allow water escape.
Resist putting anything in your ears to clean them. You risk an ear infection if you use cotton buds or fingers to forcibly clean ears; a gentle wipe with a soft cloth is fine. If concerned about wax build up, see a GP or hearing specialist about gentle micro-suction ear wax removal.
Louder isn’t better. In fact, music sounds better at lower levels that don’t harm your ears. So turn down the volume on your TV, radio, mobile phone, iPod and car stereo now; your ears are keen machines and will adapt perfectly, protecting hearing for longer too.
To enjoy music or podcasts from your MP3 player or phone, listen to it at 60% of the maximum volume, for no more than 60 minutes a day. Max volume on most gadgets is 100 decibels/dB, the equivalent noise level to a jet airplane taking-off!
Headphones offer more protection than in-ear buds for tuning in to movies or music on tablets, for long periods, as ear buds increase pressure in the inner ear canal which can cause harm.
If you work in a noisy environment, above 85 dB, you should be issued with some form of hearing protection, which you must wear at all times, no matter how much you think you’re ‘used to’ the noise; you will damage your ears otherwise.
To ward off hearing loss, get regular exercise, like walking or yoga, to improve blood flow to the ears. Exercising somewhere quiet gives ears a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life too!
Eating fish, folates like broccoli and spinach, and fruit including avocado and bananas has been shown in medical studies to help with age-related hearing loss.
Anyone having trouble hearing or experiencing ear pain should see a GP or hearing specialist. The sooner a problem is identified, the more effective treatment can be, the experts advise.
Hearing loss regularly begins around the age of 50, and younger generations more exposed to nightclubs, live concerts, and headphones as permanent accessories will be more at risk
Today’s hearing aids use advanced digital technology and are totally invisible. They also help with the ‘speech in noise’ problem, where people find it tricky to understand speech in a noisy environment.
The knock-on impacts of untreated hearing loss include social isolation, depression, dementia, diminished heart health and stroke, so looking after our hearing is important as we age.
Just like teeth or eyesight check-ups, a hearing check every year or two can help prevent the knock-on ill health effects of hearing loss.
Hidden Hearing clinics offer free testing for over 50s, with more information on 1800 818 808 or at www.hiddenhearing.ie.
Book your free hearing test today by clicking here.