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Top Habits That are Damaging to Hearing Health

woman holding hand to ear

It might be surprising that some of the things we enjoy the most could be damaging our hearing. Hanging out with friends in restaurants and bars, listening to live music - or music on your headphones can all cause problems. 

Even working can cause issues depending on what you do; construction work and warehouses can often have a lot of noise. It is essential that you know what the risks are when it comes to your hearing and how you can minimize them. 

What Habits Can Harm Your Hearing Health?

To understand the best way to take care of your hearing health, it’s crucial to first define what activities and hobbies can actually be detrimental to your auditory system.

Cotton swabs

Many people use cotton swabs to clean their ears, and unfortunately, they use them incorrectly. Cleaning too far into the ear canal and causing wax impaction or damaging your eardrums. 

Our ears will naturally clean themselves and ensure that foreign objects are prevented from getting to the eardrum. Cleaning the outside of the ear is excellent, but if you have wax issues, speak to your audiologist to have them checked out and impactions cleared if necessary.


Stress has a significant impact on our system, and one of the places that we might not expect is our ears. Tinnitus is one of the hearing issues that is most closely associated with stress. One of the main things you can do to help lower your stress levels is to be active. 

Being active helps to keep your blood flowing, and that blood flow reaches your ears too. 

The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for our emotions and our hearing. This is why when you are tired or stressed, one of the things that can be impacted is your hearing. 

If you notice that when you are under pressure or tired, you get a ringing in your ears, it is an excellent time to have a chat with an audiologist. 

Loud music

The age group that is most likely to cause damage to their hearing is teenagers. Since often teenagers listen to music too loud and too long, they are most susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss. 

It has been recommended that listening to music with earphones at a volume of 60% or less for 60 minutes or fewer per day is the cut-off level for preventing hearing impairment from excessive noise exposure. Headphones are always preferable to earbuds since earbuds are closer to your eardrums.

The 60/60 rule is one of the most important rules that you can impart to your children - and also do yourself. 

Swimmer’s ears

The air-filled cavity in the middle part of the ear, where the eardrum is, is the perfect place for moisture to gather and cause bacteria to grow and pass through the ear canal, causing infection. 

To keep your ears dry after swimming or a bath, By gently tugging on your earlobe, gently tilt your head to one side to allow the water out. If your ears are still wet, see your doctor to get them checked out. If sounds around you begin to seem muffled, get a hearing test at your nearby hearing clinic.

Are There Good Hearing Health Habits?

Good hearing health habits are also making sure that you have your hearing assessed regularly, and also for a check-up if you feel like there is something that isn’t quite right. Hearing hygiene is what we call taking care of our auditory system, so here are some great tips to help you practice it. 

Hearing Protection

Wearing the right hearing protection when exposed to loud noises is an effective way of warding off dangerous levels. Earplugs are a great option since they can be carried discreetly and in a range of options. Even those who play musical instruments can get earplugs that allow them to hear the music but reduce the risk of harmful levels of sounds. 

Quiet time 

If you head to a live music concert, then you need to give your ears some time to recover afterward. It is also recommended that, where possible, you take 10-15 minutes breaks often throughout the evening. It is suggested that after a loud event, or if your work is noisy, you should have around 16 hours of quiet to help your ears recover. 

You can discuss more great ways to look after your ears by calling the Hearing & Balance Specialist of Illinois on this: 775-336-0211