Stay safe. Look after our bodies. Eat healthy. Protect yourself. These are all very important messages which we often hear, particularly in COVID times.
Some safety measures are regulated, such as wearing a seatbelt in a car. Some are not, but the consequences make you heed action. Wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Using a helmet when on a bicycle. Yet when it comes to our ears, the consequences of not protecting them are either not widely known, or forgotten about. Typically it is too late and your hearing is damaged before you realise you should have done something.
One form of hearing damage is Tinnitus; it is a condition that has no cure, but is preventable by using ear protection. We are going to explore this condition more in the article below.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a noise that you can hear, but it is not coming from sounds from the outside world. It is in fact your brain projecting ‘phantom noises’. These can vary from person to person; it could be a ringing, buzzing, whooshing, throbbing or hissing, and can occur in one or both ears. One major problem is that is does not have an off-switch, and for some, it can have serious consequences on their life.
For instance, Tinnitus can cause stress, which in turn negatively impacts on your ability to sleep. It can also impact on your concentration, which, coupled with less sleep, can start to affect your work and social interactions, and ultimately your mental health. With 1 in 8 people in the UK currently suffering from Tinnitus, this is a serious issue.
There are therapies and sound treatment for those suffering with Tinnitus, to help them manage and cope. However, by being proactive and aware of factors which cause Tinnitus, you can take steps to prevent getting it, and also for it getting worse. When it comes to our ears, a policy of prevention rather than cure is essential. After all, there is no cure for Tinnitus.
The cause of tinnitus and how to prevent it.
There are a number of factors which can cause Tinnitus; we are going to focus on the ones which are ear-related and within our control.
Every day, we hear things. But, do we know how loud they are or whether they could be causing damage?
Noise is measured in decibels (dB). Any noise above 85dB can potentially damage your ears, depending on how long you expose your ears to it. Simple measures such as turning the volume of your headphones down can take your ears into the safe listening zone. See the diagram below to give you an idea of how loud different things are
A common cause of Tinnitus is exposure to loud noises. Prevention can be taken easily by using ear protection. For instance, if you are a regular music festival or concert attendee, a professional musician, or work at loud events, you may notice a ringing in your ears at the end of the night. This ringing could be perceived as a sign of a good night – a sign you were right at the front of the crowd by the speakers; getting the full experience. Initially, the ringing will go away in a few hours. However, it will get progressively worse if no action is taken, and one day you may wake up and it is with you for life. You have no control on turning it off, what it sounds like, and how long it lasts. You now have to live with Tinnitus forever.
How to prevent? Take care and use ear plugs in noisy environments! It’s as simple as that!
Those of us not looking to compromise on their listening experience can use earplugs with a special feature called an attenuated filter. This is the best choice, complete enjoyment and protection. Our SnugsShield range of hearing protection has specialised filters to suit the noisy environment you are in. To read more on which filter is right for you, click here.
Additionally, for those of you who cut out background noise by cranking up the earphone volume, you can stop switch to a custom fit earphone tip. SnugsPro provide passive noise isolation which means you can lower the volume to a safer listening level, and still reduce outside noise. No need to deafen yourself to have the isolated music experience. Ideal.
Repeated ear infections can lead to tinnitus. You may experience repeated ear infections if you are a regular swimmer/surfer/water sports enthusiast, due to water getting into your ear canals. This is a particular problem when in open water as the water tends to be dirtier and can be bacteria laden, which can lead to ear infections.
Particularly horrible ear infections can lead to a perforated ear drum, which is when you get a hole in your ear drum. This is another known cause of Tinnitus.
For the best level of water protection and to ensure your ears stay snug and dry, you need a custom fit plug. SnugsAqua are designed to fit the exact shape of your ears and ensure water does not get in. You can read more and order these here.
The future of your ears
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to our ears, knowing what can damage our hearing and how to prevent it is very important. Through using earplugs in noisy environments, you are preserving your hearing and preventing Tinnitus. It may seem like an unnecessary investment as it is not currently a problem. However, you don’t want to be faced with the ‘if only’ mentality in years to come if you show symptoms of Tinnitus or hearing loss. .
Snugs custom fit hearing protection is made from a medical grade silicone which is easy to keep clean and re-useable, making it the environmentally friendly choice over disposable plugs. Plus, they offer supreme comfort and the best design in your ear.
So, rather than throwing caution to the wind when it comes to your hearing, remove any potential future anxiety about your hearing and invest in devices known as ear plugs and never look (or listen) back.