Ringing ears, also known as tinnitus, can be quite annoying. Depending on the damage your hearing suffered they could be hard to get rid off, or even be permanent. If you’ve ever experienced ringing ears, you’re probably very eager to avoid that ringing in the future. But to know how you can avoid them it’s important to know what causes ringing ears.
What causes ringing ears?
Ringing ears – tinnitus – is not just a disease but can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition. There are many possible symptoms that can cause tinnitus. For example: ear infections, emotional stress or heart diseases. Most often it’s associated with hearing loss. More than half of all tinnitus patients declared to experience hearing loss.
Hearing loss has two major causes: aging and exposure to loud noise. For elderly people, the diagnosis often lies with age. For others, exposure to loud noise often does the damage. In the last situation, hearing loss can occur after just one event or overtime.
You can’t really do anything to avoid hearing loss (and tinnitus as a result of it) caused by aging. You can, however, prevent it when caused by exposure to loud noises. In order to do so, it’s necessary to understand how loud is too loud.
What sound level causes hearing damage?
Exposure to loud noises can happen to anyone at any time. At work (loud machinery), by accident (backfiring engine or gunshot) or by loud music (concerts, festivals,…). Essentially it all comes down to the level of sound and time you’re exposed. Decibel (dB) is used to measure sound levels. Irreversible hearing loss can occur as low as 85dB.
But what exactly is 85dB?
A normal conversation has an average sound level of 65 decibels. Which is completely safe for your hearing up to 16 hours. A concert or festival easily reaches up to 97 decibels. Your ears can only endure that level of sound for half an hour. After that damage is inevitable unless you protect yourself.
How to avoid ringing ears?
Ringing ears, also known as tinnitus, are most often associated with hearing loss. So, to prevent your ears from ringing, you should preserve your hearing from damaging sound levels (above 85 decibels). You can wear hearing protection, give your ears some rest, exercise, avoid ear infections, …
Let’s go over the 7 best and easiest ways to avoid ringing ears:
1. Lower the sound
It’s scientifically proven that our brain loves loud music. It relieves stress and just sounds better. The only problem is: our ears don’t love it. So try keeping music to a safe maximum of 85 decibels. A lot of phones can do that for you by setting your music to a maximum level. Use that function and you’ll never have to worry about playing your music too loud.
If you’re a frequent user of earbuds or headphones, consider switching to over-the-ear-headphones. They’re safer in use as they’re less close to the eardrum. You can also follow the 60/60 rule. Don’t use your headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
2. Keep your distance
Sound decreases with distance. If you’re working in a loud environment or dancing at a club, try to keep your distance from the source of the sound.
3. Give your ears some rest
According to research, your ears need 16 hours of quiet to recover from just one loud night out. So try giving them the chance to recover while you’re out. If you find yourself at a loud event, try stepping outside for a few minutes and give your ears some rest. A bathroom break can be a perfect opportunity to do so.
4. Wear hearing protection
Your ears can take up to 85 decibels without consequences. The problem is that a lot of music venues, sporting events and work environments are louder than 85dB. With hearing protection, you can bring back damaging decibels to a safe level. Hearing protection comes in different shapes and sizes. The most common ones are earmuffs and earplugs.
Earmuffs are easy to fit but offer less protection than earplugs. That’s because they sit over the ear, rather than in the ear canal. They’re suitable for everyone who works in construction, landscaping or operates loud machinery. Because they’re so easy to use, they’re also great for babies and young children.
The most important advantage of earplugs is the protection they provide. They’re also lighter and easier to carry than earmuffs. Earplugs come in different shapes and sizes. When choosing earplugs, you should evaluate the type of use, sound experience, looks, comfort and price. A good earplug lets sound in but keeps damaging noise out. Sits comfortably in your ear and looks good. Find out which earplug is great for you.
5. Watch out for infections
While it’s not that common, ear infections can cause tinnitus. The best way to avoid this is by keeping your earphones, headphones and earplugs clean. Also, try to avoid cotton buds as they can damage your eardrums.
Exercise is great for your mind, body and ears! During exercise your blood starts pumping to all your body parts, including your ears. Especially cardio exercises, like running or cycling, helps you ears stay healthy.
7. Take it easy
Not only can stress play a role in the development of tinnitus, but it can also make it worse if you already have it. So, keep calm and breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out, …
These tips can help you to avoid ringing ears. But what if the damage is already done?