PUMPING UP THE ZOOM

Thanks to lockdown, more people are working from home, as well as trying to keep up with friends and family online rather than in person. That means a lot of time spent on Zoom and Skype calls – and probably much more time wearing headphones.

While they can help you focus on video calls or let you listen to music while you work without disturbing anyone else, headphones can also contribute to hearing loss. Here’s how to #LOVEYOURHEARING by avoiding sounds that are too loud, too close or which last too long.

No way! Repeated loud sounds are a well-known cause of hearing loss, and hearing care professionals are seeing this issue with more young people. The prime suspect is headphones – just think of how many people you see constantly listening to music on their phones.

The simplest way to avoid hearing damage is to turn down the volume. You should always be able to hear people speaking normally to you, for example, without having to first turn down your music.

Choosing somewhere quiet to work or study means that you won’t be tempted to crank up the volume to drown out other sounds. If you’re working from home, find a quiet room or corner (away from kids and pets, if possible) and limit other sounds – don’t have the TV on at the same time.

IN OR OVER?

The two most common styles of headphone are in-ear earbuds and headphones that sit over your ear (like earmuffs). Yes, they both do the same job, but with earbuds the sound is coming from slightly closer to your eardrums, which can lead to the onset of hearing problems in the long term. That makes over-ear styles a better option for listening, whether to music or video calls.

DON’T JUST BLOCK IT OUT

The two most common styles of headphone are in-ear earbuds and headphones that sit over your ear (like earmuffs). Yes, they both do the same job, but with earbuds the sound is coming from slightly closer to your eardrums, which can lead to the onset of hearing problems in the long term. That makes over-ear styles a better option for listening, whether to music or video calls.

TAKE A BREAK

Stepping away from your laptop for a few minutes each hour is never a bad idea – stretch those legs, give your eyes a rest, and take those headphones off. You could also follow the easy-to-remember “60/60 rule” – that is, never listen at more than 60% volume, and never for more than 60 minutes at a time.

FREE PRELIMINARY HEARING SCREENING

If you’re concerned that you may have hearing loss, visit your closest Hearing Works store for a free preliminary screening. This will indicate whether further hearing tests may be needed.