On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, 12 drummers drumming….
Good hearing is the key to enjoying all the wonderful sounds this Christmas - your favourite carols, the sound of delighted children opening their presents, and contented chatter from loved ones around the dinner table.
But an expert from Australian Hearing is urging Aussies not to take their hearing for granted and to protect it this holiday time.
“Over a third of adult hearing loss, 37 per cent, is preventable, so it’s important to know how to take care of your hearing,” said Catherine Hart, Principal Audiologist at Australian Hearing.
“This includes making sure you protect yourself from exposure to loud sounds, which is the most significant cause of preventable hearing loss in the Australian population.”
So, in the spirit of the festive season, here are Australian Hearing’s 12 tips for 12 days of happy hearing:
- Celebrate with safe sound levels: When you’re enjoying those festive season parties or joining in the celebrations with friends and colleagues, make sure you’re not exposed to excessively loud noise. Take regular breaks outside and position yourself at a distance from the speakers.
- Be hearing smart at concerts: Research from Australian Hearing shows that 40 per cent of people are unaware that loud music can be related to hearing issues. Pack your earplugs if going to an event and remember, the higher the level of sound and the longer the exposure, the more likely that hearing damage will occur.
- Keep volumes at safe levels on portable music devices: Listening to music at high volume through earbuds or headphones is a known risk factor for hearing loss.
- Adjust the volume for kids: Young children love toys that generate sounds (especially if they’re accompanied by flashing lights). They normally come with adjustable volume so you can keep it on a lower setting. You’ll also appreciate the peace and quiet!
- Protect your ears when doing chores: The holiday season is a great time to get ahead on some household chores and DIY but if you’re using power tools, leaf blowers or lawnmowers, be sure to wear earmuffs.
- Keep the tone down while toning up: With all the extra food we usually eat at Christmas, we often find ourselves feeling the need to exercise more. While music is a great motivator for exercise, make sure you listen at a comfortable sound level. Pump up the tempo, not the volume.
- Healthy eating for healthy hearing: Did you know that eating certain foods may be good for your hearing? Greens are good!9
- Do your research: Plenty of people will be asking Santa for headphones this year, especially the frequent flyers among us. Make sure you do your research and choose high-quality noise-cancelling headphones where possible.
- Keep ears clean and clear: Don’t forget to look after your ears when you swim - you might find earplugs helpful for keeping water out and only swim in clean water.
- Ask for help: If you are experiencing hearing loss, ensure you get help at Christmas family gatherings. Make sure any hearing device you use is working properly, seat yourself in a central position and away from noise, so you can see everyone and hear who is talking.
- Plan your trip: Make sure you pack extra batteries and maintenance equipment if you use a hearing device. It’s also a good idea to check out where the nearest hearing aid clinics may be at your holiday destination.
- Make a New Year’s resolution to take good care of your hearing: Ensure you get regular checks with a hearing care professional as your gift of sound to yourself.
Australian Hearing research revealed 50 per cent of Australians have a loved one or family member who has been affected by hearing issues, Catherine said.
“There’s no need for people to struggle with hearing difficulties,” she said. “Expert care combined with the latest hearing technology to suit your budget and lifestyle, can help you can stay in touch with your family, friends and colleagues.”
If you are a member of National Seniors and think you need to have your hearing tested, click here.