Most hearing problems are caused by excess noise. The delicate cells in your ears are damaged permanently by too much noise and once they are damaged, it’s too late to do anything about it.
Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB) and anything over 105dB can damage your hearing if you are exposed to it for more than 15 minutes a week. Lower levels can damage your hearing if you are exposed to them frequently. Normal conversation is about 60dB but an Mp3 player with the sound turned up can be 112dB, and a rock concert can be as loud as 120dB (or more). It is therefore very important that you limit your exposure to high levels of noise.
Turn it down
If you can’t hear someone talking to you when you’re wearing your headphones, or if someone next to you can hear your music from your headphones, the chances are you have the sound turned up too high. If you have a ‘smart volume’ feature on your phone or Mp3 player, use it to help you regulate the levels. Use earplugs when you listen to live music. They are available to buy at many festivals and concerts.
Ears produce wax to form a protective coating in the ear canal, keep your ears clean and free from germs. Your ears are usually self-cleaning but sometimes there is a build-up of wax which can feel uncomfortable or make you a little deaf.
Never poke anything inside your ears to try to clean them, especially not cotton buds and not even your finger, as this can make the problem worse by pushing wax further into your ear canal.
If you experience any of the following problems with your ears for more than a couple of days without it getting better, make an appointment to see your GP:
- deafness or buzzing
- vertigo (a spinning sensation) or dizziness.
Remember: never push anything into your ears.