Caring for Your Hearing

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Caring for your Hearing

Contrary to popular belief, your hearing does not need to diminish completely with age or as an inevitable consequence of your military service. In fact, the proactive use of protective measures, such as regular screenings and hearing protection devices, can help preserve your ability to hear. In doing so, it will enable you to continue participating in activities you love (e.g., watching sports on the television, going to the movies, or talking on the phone), communicating with individuals you want and need to, and serving in your chosen career field.

Whether at work or play, it is important to follow healthy hearing practices. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow to protect and preserve your hearing:

According to www.hearing.health.mil, here are a few rules of thumb to follow to protect and preserve your hearing:

 

  • Know your noise (stay informed!) – Know how to spot dangerous levels of noise (link to Safe Listening page with information) and when/where and how use hearing protection devices to safeguard your ears.
  • Reduce exposure – Limit the amount of time you are exposed to high levels of noise, either by turning down the volume or walking away from a noisy environment such as the gym or a sporting event. Where possible, proactively avoid high-noise, high-risk situations. Where this is not possible, make sure your ears are covered.
  • Wear protection – Always use hearing protective devices in noisy recreational or occupational environments. This includes whenever you are engaging in activities that involve a firearm (e.g., hunting), heavy machinery (e.g., mowing your lawn or driving a truck or plane), crowds of people (e.g., sporting events, restaurants, night clubs), or loud music (e.g., concerts). From mowing the lawn to fighting in combat, it is important to use and properly wear hearing protective devices whenever you are at risk of exposure to sudden loud impulse noises or sustained/prolonged levels of noise 85 dB or above (link to Hearing Protective Devices landing page).
  • Turn down the volume – When using personal music players or watching television, make sure to turn it down to a safe noise level. The maximum sound levels of most MP3 players, TVs, and personal gaming systems usually exceed the 85 dB threshold for safe listening, especially when listening for prolonged periods.
  • Give your ears a rest – if you listen to your iPod, attend a concert, or in another environment that involves prolonged listening to moderate or loud sounds, your ears need a recovery period or “quiet time” to rest and recover.

Copyright 2013. Reprinted with permission from Hearing Center of Excellence. Please visit their site for the original article: “Caring for your Hearing”, www. hearing.health.mil