Know the facts
80% of deafness is caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Fish, amphibians and birds can regenerate these cells but in humans this damage is permanent. Aim for prevention - There is NO cure!
Remember: maximum space, moderate time, minimal volume
The longer and louder you listen to music the more likely it is to damage your hearing. Listening to music in a confined space such as a car also increases the risk. Alter listening habits to suit the surroundings and don’t listen too long, too loud.
60 a day goes a long way
Adopt the 60:60 rule: Only use your MP3 player at 60% of its maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day. Moderate the volume on home hi-fis: if you need to raise your voice to be heard above the music, turn it down.
Invest in the best
Opt for noise cancelling headphones, or go retro with older muff-type headphones. Ear-bud style headphones are less effective at drowning out background noise so it’s tempting to crank up the volume, especially on transport.
Worn correctly, earplugs can reduce average sound levels by between 15 and 35 decibels. They are widely available at many live music venues and are suitable for those on and off the stage. Some instruments produce damagingly loud sound; when making music, be aware of the sound level of your instrument, and those around you.
Enjoy an aural detox
Give your ears time to recover after exposure to excessive noise. Spending around two hours in 100 decibel sound e.g. in a club, needs at least 16 hours of rest for the ears to recover. Reducing this recovery time increases the risk of permanent deafness.
Know your listening rights
If you work in a noisy environment, including in the music or leisure industries, check out the Noise at Work regulations on the HSE website.
Treat ‘em kind
Don’t use cotton buds to clean your ears. Instead, put a drop of olive oil in each ear once a week to help wax exit naturally.
Take heed of change
Do you have trouble hearing conversation against background noise, understanding higher pitched sounds or feel that people often mumble? Be aware of the first signs of hearing loss.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
Act now and get medical help if you think your hearing is not as good as it used to be. You benefit more from being fitted with a hearing aid while a hearing loss is relatively mild.