Why is it important to have your hearing tested?

As a new-born, we have our hearing tested to make sure that we aren't suffering from any hearing disabilities. But as we get older, there are no official recommendations as to how often you should have a hearing test.

Most recently, medical bodies have voiced their concerns about the increasing trend of people under 30 suffering from a variation of different hearing problems. Worryingly, cases of hearing related problems have been steadily increasing since the start of the decade. Many influential figures within the health industry are placing the blame largely on the rise of digital MP3 players.

Medical professionals have been so vocal about their concerns that it has led the European Union to propose that any music device sold in the EU has its maximum volume level capped to 100 decibels. Currently, the most popular digital music player, the iPod, outputs music at 130 decibels if a user sets the device to 100%.

130 decibels may be hard to gauge in real life terms, but can be compared to standing 4 feet away from a person using a pneumatic chisel. Taking into consideration that more people listen to music at full volume than standing near pneumatic chisels, prolonged exposure to either can have dangerous consequences to your hearing.

If you're worried that you might be listening to music at levels that could be detrimental to your hearing health, there are a few steps you can carry out to help remedy any qualms. If you do listen to music using headphones for a prolonged period of time, why not take hearing breaks? By implementing a 10 minute break every hour, you will help your ears by allowing it to adjust back to the ambient noise levels wherever you are.

Making sure that you listen to music at levels that are suitable for your surroundings can also help. Using digital music players do drown out outside noise can be dangerous, not only for your ears but also can reduce the perception of distance around you, causing oncoming vehicles to approach you unnoticed.

If you believe that your hearing may be suffering, local opticians now carry out hearing tests that can identify whether you are experiencing any hearing loss. The RNID also has a ‘do it yourself' hearing test that can help you understand how easy or hard it can be to hear in different situations.


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