AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — October is National Protect Your Hearing Month and serves as a reminder to protect your hearing during the fall season as football, hunting and the holiday season begins.

“October brings a lot of fall activities like sporting events, but also hunting season, which both of those things can bring some loud sounds,” said Assistant Director of Audiology at Livingston Hearing Aid Center Dr. Hunter Gerhart. “So we need to protect our hearing from those loud sounds to prevent things like noise-induced hearing loss that can occur.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 31 million people have some form of hearing loss. During large gathering and hunting events noise levels can reach over 85 decibels.

Gerhart shared you can protect your ears in loud settings by wearing hearing protection and monitoring the amount of time you spend in certain settings.

“At Livingston, we offer a wide variety of hearing protection for all of these different types of activities,” said Gerhart. “So, for individuals who are around these activities a lot more than others, there are custom hearing protection products that are available as well that are custom molded for the shape and size of individuals here, which makes them very comfortable.

Gerhart continued, “I always like to refer to what I call the 6060 rule, which means just essentially not listening to any more than 60% of the volume for longer than 60 minutes. Anytime that you’re listening to the volume up louder than 60% and for longer than 60 minutes, you put yourself at risk for some noise induced hearing loss.”

It is recommended that hearing is checked once a year for changes that occur over time.

The ability to hear sound often connects us to the world and is an important reason to prioritize hearing health.

“When you have untreated hearing loss you tend to withdraw from situations or you know, tend to ask others to repeat, that can lead to loneliness and isolation,” said Gerhart. “It’s important to stay on top of your hearing just because it’s what connects us to people in the world around us and it’s important to stay connected.

Another way to protect your hearing is to avoid placing foreign objects in your ear, such as Q-tips. Placing a Q-tip in your ear can push wax further into your ear and impact sound transmission according to Gerhart.

Gerhart adds that ear wax is not a problem as it helps keep bacteria and foreign objects out of your ear. If it becomes excessive you should seek medical attention.

Livingston Hearing Aid Center offers free evaluations.

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