Hearing is a way we interact with the world. Hearing a teacher’s lecture, a car’s horn in traffic, or music at a concert, are some of the multiple ways that hearing affects the way we interact with our everyday worlds. In the United States, there are roughly 40 million people that are losing their hearing. Out of those 40 million, there are about 10 million people that have lost being to loud noises. Most would think everyday things would not expose them to hearing loss but the everyday noises we encounter are louder than we truly notice.
When most people think of hearing loss, they generally think of operating heavy machinery or anyone involved with music performances. But things like loud headphones, living by a busy highway, and some types of air conditioners can be issues as well. Our eardrums and the tiny hairs that line them like any part of our body need time to heal. Depending on your daily exposure to a consistent noise source, the consecutive hours will eventually impact hearing. I drive to work daily and try to rarely open the windows on the highway due to the increased overall noise level.
Thankfully there are many ways for us to help sustain our hearing throughout the years. A common way to protect our ears is by using earmuffs or earplugs. Earplugs are commonly thought of to only block noise. However, there are earplug designs that can reduce noise and let you actually hear clearer. This allows musicians to hear their live sets clearer and concert goers to hear finer points of a song. As with any part of our body, nutrition is key for healthy hearing. One of the vital nutrients for healthy hearing is folic acid, which helps with the production of new red blood cells. Certain vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin B12 are shown to help protect our hearing as well.
Hearing is held dear to many people, usually when music is involved. Music is a great form of expression and even has therapy applications. I personally produce music as well as am a huge fan of many genres. The idea of possibly losing this gift one day is something that truly scares me. There are multiple habits that are easy to start in order to protect your hearing, many of which I myself will start practicing. I hope you enjoy your hearing as much as I do. ‘Til next type - M.
Written by Michael Dour
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