Many people lose their hearing as they get older. In fact, at the age of 65, almost a third of Americans report some form of hearing loss. This may be due to illness or genetic reasons, but is usually for reasons that could have been prevented. Here are a few ways that you can protect your hearing.

Wear protective equipment

Sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing damage. In some work environments such as construction sites, airports and rock concert venues, protection will be supplied. This may take the form of over-head headphones or earplugs. Many trades by law have to supply this gear, although they won’t make you wear it. It’s important to wear this gear if supplied and not forgo it because other people aren’t wearing it.

Some work environments such as nightclubs may be over 85 decibels but may not supply earplugs. In such cases, it may still be worthwhile taking the decision to wear them (although some find it makes it hard to hear the orders of customers). Meanwhile, if you’re voluntarily going to an event such as a rock concert or a motor race, it could be handy to bring along earplugs.

Adjust the volume where possible

There may be cases where you have control over the sound levels. For example, if you’re listening to music in a personal setting, you choose the volume at which to play it. Some phones will now tell you when you’re listening to music too loudly on headphones. In cars meanwhile, you should try to resist the temptation to turn the volume up to hide the engine noise when travelling at speed – in some cases the sound of the car may already be close to 80 decibels and by adjusting the volume above this you could be moving the volume into dangerous territory.

Know the signs of hearing loss and act early

In most cases, hearing loss is permanent. Fortunately, you can improve your sense hearing with a hearing aid. It’s worth getting one of these moment you think you’re hearing is becoming impaired – you may be turning up the TV or turning up music to hear it better, damaging your hearing further. Hearing aids can get broken so know when to seek hearing aid repair. This will ensure you’re always hearing things at the correct volume.

There are many signs of hearing loss. High frequencies can often start to disappear first – you may realise that certain music sounds funny or that the birds aren’t singing any more. Conversation will likely become difficult and you may find yourself straining to hear people talk or having to tell people to repeat things. Family members may be telling you that you’re always ignoring them or that you talk too loudly – you yourself may not think this, but it may be because you haven’t realised that your hearing is going. If any of these situations ring true, it’s best to get your hearing checked by hearing specialist.