As something you use every day but cannot see, your ears are often taken for granted. However, according to Action on Hearing Loss, there are currently ten million people in the UK alone experiencing complete or partial deafness, a figure set to grow to 14.5 million by 2031.

Whether you’re a frequent concert-goer or keen conversationalist, it is important to do what you can to protect your ears. With that in mind, we have provided the following tips to help prolong your hearing:

Turn your headphones down

MP3 players on a loud setting normally register a volume of around 112dB. With studies showing that noise levels of 105dB can cause significant damage to the delicate hairs of the inner ear if endured for more than 15 minutes each week, turning your headphones down is an easy way to reduce the chance of injury, and make sure to take regular breaks.

Stay vigilant to other conditions

Hearing specialists Amplifon recently ran a study that showed the links between diabetes and hearing loss. Onset deafness is a symptom of many other conditions, including strokes, Meniere’s disease and meningitis. If you suspect that an underlying condition is causing an effect on your ability to hear, it is important to get a diagnosis as quickly as possible to avoid any irreversible damage.

Avoid prolonged exposure

Hearing loss or deafness is particularly common among musicians or people who work regularly with loud equipment on construction sites or shooting ranges. If your occupation requires prolonged exposure to loud noises, it is important to wear the appropriate ear protection for the job – simple foam earplugs may not be enough for particularly loud environments. Try a noise-cancelling in-ear model, or consider getting silicone or acrylic plugs that can be moulded to your exact fit.

Clean carefully

One of the most common causes of hearing damage is people poking cotton swabs or pointed objects into their ears to clear wax. Despite best intentions, these objects can easily perforate your eardrum, which can cause serious infection complications or even complete deafness. If you’re worried about wax build up, seek professional advice or use eardrops to clean the area naturally.

Have regular check ups

Lots of people find that they do not realise how bad their hearing has got until it’s too late, especially in old age. It is important to have hearing tests as often as you would visit the GP or Optician, detecting any issues before they have a severe impact on your wellbeing. Hearing test can be booked easily through your nearest pharmacy and doctor’s surgery.

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