Whether you already have hearing loss or want to prevent it, there are a number of things you can do to protect your hearing. Protecting your hearing is important either way because hearing loss is something that can be hard to deal with, especially if it is severe or profound. The better you protect your hearing, the longer you will be able to go without needing hearing aids.

Here are 6 ways that you can protect your hearing:

  1. Keep the Music Down

When listening to music, the best way to protect your hearing is to keep the volume at a reasonable level. This means that you are still able to hear background noises and it’s not uncomfortable at all. When wearing headphones, you should likewise still be able to hear background sounds and other people should not be able to hear your music.

  1. Use Hearing Protection

There are a number of types of hearing protection available when you are going to be exposed to loud noises. This is especially important if you work somewhere that there is a lot of loud noises, such as at an airfield or a construction site. You may use earmuffs or ear plugs, but either way, be sure to protect your hearing from loud noises.

If you do work in a place where there is a lot of loud noises happening that could damage your ears, you may be able to get ear protection through your place of work. If you have concerns, talk to your boss or Human Resources department to find out more about how you can get the hearing protection you need so you don’t experience hearing loss.

Another time you will need to protect your hearing is at live concerts. The good news is that there are typically ear buds available at the venue so that you can easily get a pair for the evening to protect your hearing. Because the music is so loud, there’s no need to worry about being able to enjoy the concert as you’ll still be able to hear the music; it just won’t be able to damage your ears.

  1. Use Headphones Instead of Ear Buds

When choosing to listen to music or anything with headphones, the best way to protect your hearing is by choosing a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones rather than ear buds. These allow you to listen at lower volumes while still canceling out background sounds whereas many ear buds need to be turned up to unsafe volumes to be heard.

  1. Follow the 60/60 Rule

This rule will help you protect your hearing by making sure that you’re not listening to music too loud or for too long, since both volume and duration can damage hearing. The 60/60 rule is that you should keep your volume at 60% of maximum and listen for no more than 60 minutes at a time.

  1. Use Smart Volume

Today, most of the MP3 players that you can buy come with a feature called “smart volume” which will help regulate the volume for you and protect your hearing. Check to see if your MP3 player has one or, if you’re in the market for a new one, make sure you get one that has this handy feature designed to protect your ears.

  1. Keep the TV Volume at a Reasonable Level

If you have to raise your voice to be heard over the TV, it’s not at a reasonable level. This also goes if you are listening to the radio or music. You’d be surprised at how much even a small reduction in volume can do to protect your hearing, and you won’t miss out on anything by turning it down just a little.