Protecting your hearing might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of summer, but it’s an important health factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Hearing loss is a common condition, affecting more than 11 million people in the UK alone* and although it is a natural part of the aging process there are things you can do to protect your hearing from unnecessary damage. If you regularly spend time in loud environments, such as festivals, concerts or sport stadiums, you could be damaging your hearing without even realising.
Nick Taylor, chief audiologist at Specsavers Audiologists, says: ‘By 2035 it is predicted that one in five of us in the UK will have some form of hearing loss*. Part of the problem is that many people don’t know how to look after their hearing properly. But I think people will be surprised at the options available to them that help prevent accelerated hearing loss.’
Nick offers some of his to tips for protecting your hearing this summer:
The effects of noise on hearing vary from person to person but any sound that is loud enough and lasts long enough can damage hearing and lead to hearing loss. A sound's loudness is measured in decibels (dB). In general, sounds above 85 dB are harmful so it’s not surprising that a loud rock concert that is about 120 dB can cause significant damage.
The first step to reducing your risk of hearing loss is to be aware of environments where noise levels are high and to reduce overexposure by choosing a seat in a quiet corner of the restaurant or away from the sound system.
Where possible it is best to avoid overexposure, but rather than miss out on your favourite arena event, why not go prepared? If you are frequently attending loud concerts or sporting tournaments it may be worthwhile picking up some earplugs to reduce the risk of developing tinnitus or other damage to your hearing. Specsavers offers a range of discreet hearing protection that blocks excessive noise while still allowing you to hear the music clearly.
Regular hearing checks
Having your hearing checked should be part of your regular healthcare routine, whether you are concerned that you may be suffering from hearing loss or not. Having a hearing check doesn’t necessarily mean that you will need to wear a hearing aid. The sooner you seek help for your hearing, the better your hearing is likely to be for the long-term.
Regular hearing checks allow you to monitor your hearing health too and are especially important for individuals who suffer from associated health concerns such as diabetes. Research has shown that diabetics are twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss as non-diabetics.**
Nick Taylor continues: ‘I would urge anyone that is concerned about their hearing to have their hearing checked and take advantage of the range of hearing protection available to them. At Specsavers we recommend that anyone over the age of 55 has their hearing checked once a year’
** Researchers at Tsukuba University Hospital Mito Medical Center in Ibaraki, Japan