Distraction has been a coping mechanism during the pandemic, but one method can have a lasting impact on health – cranking up the volume on your headphones. Listening to music via headphones or earbuds to reduce stress from work or school became more common as COVID raged. But setting the volume too high can result in noise-induced hearing loss. Many health experts suggest the 80/90 rule, which is staying at or below 80-percent volume for no more than 90 minutes. Kim Fishman is a licensed audiologist in Minnesota who says for those already experiencing hearing damage, it’s important to carry protective gear – such as earplugs – if you know you’ll be in a situation with loud noises.
Many Americans are resuming exercise at a health club after a long absence, and when background noise goes up, such as at the gym, headphone volume does too – which contributes to hearing-loss issues. Fishman says if you’re doing a group exercise involving loud music, it’s worth asking staff to turn the speakers down.
UnitedHealthcare audiologist Claire Johnson says hearing loss is the third most chronic condition. She says 48 million Americans experience hearing loss that typically can only be corrected by wearing hearing aids. While it’s most common among people 50 and older, Johnson notes it’s increasing among young people and can be traced to music-listening devices.
Johnson also suggests eating post-workout foods rich in potassium, zinc and magnesium because they’ve been shown to help maintain hearing health and contribute to overall well-being. Those might include bananas, yogurt, nuts and seeds, eggs and avocados.