I wish I knew then what I know now about hearing loss

Dear Younger Self,

What’s it been, 20, 25 years? Remember all of the good times that we had back then? All those concerts that we went to? Riding the lawn mower while rocking out to Pearl Jam on the Walkman®?

You’re in for a treat, Younger Self. This guy, Steve Jobs, debuts this magical thing called the iPhone in about 20 years. Get this - you're going to listen to all of your music on it. Yes, you heard that right! You’re going to listen to music on your phone! (Don’t get me started about how you’ll be able to watch videos on it too.)

You know what else is magical about that iPhone? Your new hearing aids will work with it!

Whaaaaaat? My hearing aids?!?” you’re probably thinking.

Yes. Our hearing aids.

Like every teen, I thought I was indestructible

We’re not even that old yet. But because we listened to Pearl Jam so loud, and didn’t take care of our hearing on the mower, or with the chainsaw, etc., this is where we are now. Crazy, right? Thirty-six-years old and we have noise-induced hearing loss. 

Here’s the deal. You — or should I say “we” — could have avoided it. Remember all those times Dad said turn down the music or wear ear plugs when shooting? Yeah, turns out he was right! We should have done those things. It was so avoidable! But, hey, at least our hearing aids are cool.  

While it’s too late for us, Younger Self, it’s not too late for the ones who think they’re indestructible and impervious to hearing loss. No one is. But if we would have followed these tips, we might not be wearing hearing aids right now.

  • If you’re three feet away from someone and you have to yell to hear each other, it’s too loud! Leave the noise or grab some foam earplugs to protect your hearing.
  • If you are shooting guns or are around others who are, ALWAYS wear hearing protection. Ear muffs can lower the noise at the eardrum by as much as 30dB. That can be enough of a difference between safe listening and permanent damage to your hearing. 
  • Long-term exposure to loud sounds isn’t the only thing that can damage your hearing. Instantaneous noises can cause immediate damage, as well. Protect your ears!
  • The ringing that occurs after being exposed to loud sounds from concerts or sporting events is your body telling you something is wrong. If you’re repeatedly finding that your ears ring after you leave a venue, take hearing protection next time.
  • And while music may sound better loud — be smart. You don’t always need to crank it. Listen at a lower volume, whether through iPhone earbuds or through wireless headphones. (Yes, Younger Self, you heard that right — wireless headphones are in your future too!) 

For more hearing loss prevention tips, check out hearing loss tips or consult your hearing professional near you. 

By Starkey Hearing Technologies blog