The January 2016 issue of Real Simple magazine contains a great article about making your house quieter, which includes several random acts of hearing kindness you can perform for family members.
Fix annoying household sounds, such as dripping faucets and buzzing light bulbs. Even repetitive sounds can cause stress – which might surprise you to know can be detrimental to your hearing. Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found a direct link between stress and tinnitus and hearing loss among participants in a survey.
Mask night sounds with a fan or white-noise machine. If you can’t eliminate the noise, at least try to mask it, especially in the bedroom. Getting a good night’s sleep is also important for healthy hearing. Poor sleep can lead to mental exhaustion and, since the brain plays such a big role in how well we hear, it can affect your hearing, too.
Replace old appliances with quieter models. Blenders, garbage disposals, dishwashers, air conditioners — all of the modern conveniences that simplify our lives and keep us comfortable also make noise. According to hearing healthcare professionals, exposing hearing to sound levels louder than 80 decibels (dB) on a regular basis can cause hearing loss. Most of the household appliances we just listed measure anywhere from 50 to 90 dB, so it’s a good idea to invest in quieter models whenever possible.
Decorate with soft, noise-absorbing materials like rugs and drapes. As we mentioned earlier, sound bounces off hard surfaces, so while hardwood floors are all the rage, they also might elevate the volume of sound in the room.
Keep a stash of earplugs handy next to noisy lawn equipment and power tools. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. Why not keep ear protection where you can see it, especially when you’re operating equipment such as lawn mowers (65 to 95 dB), snow blowers (105 dB), leafblowers (110 dB) and chain saws (125 dB). And, when the impressionable younger members of your family see you exercising good hearing protection habits, they are more likely to do so as well. Helping those you love develop good habits when it comes to protecting their hearing may just be the best gift you can give them this Valentine’s Day.
Of course, the ultimate act of hearing kindness is helping a loved one find a hearing care professional or making that much-needed appointment for yourself!