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January is nearly here and with it comes a brand new year! What do you hope to achieve in this next year? Do you want to exercise more, eat healthier, reconnect with old friends or start a brand new project? Whatever you choose, past the big picture, make sure you focus on the small steps to get there. For instance, did you find you struggled to hear people over the holiday get-togethers? Did you have to ask people to repeat themselves more often than you’d care to admit? This could mean you have an undiagnosed hearing loss and before you do anything else this next year, make sure you don’t procrastinate dealing with your hearing health. Here are some important resolutions that could protect your hearing in 2022:
Health is Wealth
Our health is our key to success. When we are feeling our best we have all the tools at our disposal to achieve any goal we set our eyes on. In the case of hearing health, it’s important to address it before it can have a chance to truly hinder our path to success. Do you find that you struggle to hear people at work? Chances are they have noticed too. You may not seem alert in an industrial setting, missing alarms, and warning sounds. This can cause co-workers and employers to start thinking of you as a liability instead of an asset.
In an office setting, people may notice you mishearing one too many instructions or important pieces of information, hindering your productivity. A study by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) found that using hearing aids reduces the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss and loss as much as $30,000 annually. Many people chose to put off treating hearing loss because they are concerned about the cost. However, when compared to these losses in earnings, hearing aids are a “sound” investment.
Ditch That Smoke
It’s almost 2022 and if you haven’t already heard a trillion reasons why smoking is bad for your health, then here is one more. Tobacco is an ototoxic chemical, which means that it damages the tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear. We rely on these cells to transmit sound from our ears to our brains. Tobacco constricts our blood vessels and damages the cells which rely on a healthy supply of oxygenated blood. A study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the ototoxic chemicals in cigarettes increase the likelihood of hearing loss in smokers by 70%. This year, resolve to protect your hearing and make a commitment to stop smoking once and for all
Watch the Decibel Level
If you want to protect your ears into 2022, commit to watching the level of sound you expose yourself to. While hearing loss is commonly thought of as a condition that affects the elderly, more and more hearing loss affects people of all ages in part due to an ever increasingly loud world. Know the decibels levels in the places you frequent most. Decibels are used to measure the loudness or intensity of sound. 85dB or higher can damage hearing and every 10 decibels increase equals ten times as loud. At 95 decibels a constant exposure can damage your hearing in an hour and at 105 it can take a little over a minute! Make sure to turn down the sounds around you. If you listen to headphones, keep them below 60% of their total volume, and make sure to carry hearing protection with you everywhere you go! Protecting your hearing now can make a big difference for years to come.
Schedule a Hearing Exam
If you can’t remember the last time you had a hearing exam, then it’s time to see an audiologist for a thorough hearing examination. If a hearing loss is present, commit to seeking treatment. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids and they can improve your quality of life in many ways. To find out the status of your hearing, resolve to schedule a hearing test to start 2022!