Hearing loss is a serious health issue affecting millions of people across the globe. Unfortunately, showing no signs of slowing down, the number of people experiencing disabling hearing loss is set to double to 900 million by 2050, meaning it has never been more important to pay attention to your hearing health.
Our hearing is such a powerful tool to have at our disposal, it’s something we should be focused on learning to love and look after. No matter what your hearing level is, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to protect and preserve it.
Protect your ears
The first step to protecting your hearing is understanding the risks and knowing how you can prevent them. According to the World Health Organisation, 50% of hearing loss cases are preventable through public health measures and early intervention.
Take care with headphones
One of the biggest threats to our hearing is prolonged exposure to loud noises and extended headphone use. Learning how to listen safely is the first step towards protecting your hearing.
Set your headphone volume levels in a quiet space, not somewhere with competing sounds.
Follow the 60/60 rule - don’t listen to your audio devices at more than 60% of the maximum volume for more than 60 minutes at a time.
After 60 minutes of listening with headphones, give your ears a 5 minute break.
If possible, opt for noise-cancelling headphones instead of turning up the volume to mask background noises.
HearAngel is an app available on Android devices that measures your headphone use and warns you when you’re at risk of prolonged exposure, or when you’re listening at dangerous levels. Its parental control features also mean you can manage and monitor your children’s listening to ensure their hearing is protected.
As an iOS user, you can still monitor your headphone levels by enabling Hearing in your Control Centre settings. When you have your headphones connected, open up the Control Centre, click Hearing and it will show you your current listening levels, warning you when you surpass 80dB.
Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation currently estimates that 1.1 billion young people are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Get to know the sounds around you - what noises are you exposed to and for how long? Minimising the time you spend exposed to excessive noise will help reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss.