Listen Up

If your ears are ringing, you’re not alone — more than 26 million Americans have suffered noise–related hearing loss at work or play. Damaging decibels are found almost everywhere — and with the prominence of earbuds aiming pulsations directly down ear canals, the risk is heightened. Research shows just 8 hours of high decibel exposure can cause permanent damage — symptoms can appear instantly or later in life.

Common signs of hearing loss include:

  • Complaints from others about TV or radio volume
  • Difficulty hearing quiet sounds
  • Full feeling in ears
  • Ringing or buzzing in ears after music stops.

The easiest way to avoid long–term damage is to turn down the volume and avoid loud noise. Here’s more sound advice:

  • Cover up. At concerts, invest a couple dollars for the protective benefits of earplugs — this is especially crucial for fans closest to the stage or speakers.
  • Get tested. Hearing loss risk increases with age, and those suffering gradual hearing decline might not realize it. Regular checkups can limit harm and help increase auditory capability.
  • Stay out. Using a cotton swab to remove earwax is considered dangerous to the eardrum. A good rule: Never stick anything in your ear.
  • Take a break. If you’re bent on blasting tunes on your headphones, take a sound siesta every 10–15 minutes.

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