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Unintentional Habits That Harm Your Hearing

Hearing is a precious sense that often goes unnoticed until it starts to fade. Many of us unknowingly engage in daily habits that can harm our hearing over time. While hearing loss can be caused by various factors, including genetics and age, it’s essential to be aware of the habits that can accelerate this process. In this blog post, we’ll explore some common, often overlooked practices that may be hurting your hearing without you realising it.

Cranking Up the Volume

One of the most common culprits behind hearing damage is listening to music, podcasts, or the television at high volumes. It’s a habit many of us have developed in this age of endless entertainment at our fingertips. But what may seem harmless can gradually erode our hearing abilities.

When sound levels exceed 85 decibels for an extended period, it can lead to irreversible damage to the hair cells in our inner ears, which are responsible for transmitting sound signals to our brains. These hair cells are incredibly delicate, and once they’re damaged, they don’t regenerate. 

This means that the hearing loss caused by loud music or constant exposure to high volumes is often permanent. To protect your hearing, it’s essential to keep the volume at a comfortable level. If you find yourself needing to raise the volume to drown out background noise, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones. These innovative devices effectively block out external sounds, allowing you to enjoy your audio at lower volumes without compromising on quality.

By practicing safer listening habits, you can enjoy your favourite tunes and shows without unknowingly contributing to hearing damage. Remember, preserving your hearing is an investment in your future quality of life, and it’s never too late to start protecting your ears.

Ignoring Ear Protection

Whether you’re mowing the lawn, attending a concert, or working in a noisy environment, ear protection is crucial. The importance of safeguarding your hearing cannot be overstated. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is entirely preventable with the right precautions.

To protect your hearing in noisy environments, invest in high-quality earplugs or earmuffs. These simple devices are highly effective at reducing the intensity of sounds reaching your ears, preserving your auditory health. Don’t underestimate the importance of ear protection, as it can make a significant difference in your long-term hearing well-being.

By prioritising ear protection in noisy situations, you’re taking a proactive step to ensure that your hearing remains intact for years to come. It’s a small investment in exchange for a lifetime of sound enjoyment.

Neglecting Regular Hearing Check-Ups

Many people wait until they notice a problem with their hearing before scheduling a hearing check-up. However, the reality is that hearing issues can often develop gradually, and the signs may go unnoticed until they become more pronounced. That’s why making regular hearing assessments a part of your health routine is crucial.

The sooner you identify a potential problem, the more effectively it can be managed or treated. Regular hearing check-ups, especially if you have a family history of hearing loss or are frequently exposed to loud environments, are essential for early detection. They provide valuable insights into your auditory health and allow for timely interventions if needed.

Male head next to audiogram

Think of hearing check-ups as a proactive measure rather than a reactive one. Just as you wouldn’t wait until you have a severe toothache to see a dentist, you shouldn’t wait until you struggle with hearing difficulties to consult an audiologist. Prevention and early intervention are key to preserving your hearing for years to come.

Q-Tip Misuse

Cleaning your ears is essential for maintaining ear hygiene and comfort. However, it’s crucial to approach ear cleaning with care, as misuse of Q-tips or other objects can inadvertently harm your ears.

The misconception that ‘deeper is cleaner’ often leads people to insert Q-tips into their ear canals, but this practice can have unintended consequences. Q-tips can push earwax deeper into the ear, creating blockages that may affect hearing. Additionally, using Q-tips improperly can lead to accidental injuries, such as scratches or punctures of the delicate ear canal lining.

Instead of inserting Q-tips or other objects into the ear canal, focus on cleaning the outer ear. Gently wipe the visible parts of your ear with a soft cloth or tissue to remove excess wax and debris. If you suspect a significant earwax buildup or experience discomfort in your ears, it’s best to consult a hearing care professional such as Hear4U. They can safely remove earwax and provide guidance on proper ear care techniques.

Remember, your ears are self-cleaning to some extent, and inserting objects into the ear canal can disrupt this natural process. By adopting a gentle and cautious approach to ear hygiene, you can keep your ears clean and comfortable without the risk of unintentional harm.


The detrimental effects of smoking extend beyond your lungs and cardiovascular system. Research has uncovered a strong link between smoking and an increased risk of hearing loss, making it yet another compelling reason to quit this harmful habit. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Reduced Blood Flow: Smoking leads to the constriction of blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the ears. This reduced blood flow can deprive the delicate hair cells in the inner ear of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function correctly.
  • Toxic Chemicals: Cigarette smoke contains numerous toxic chemicals, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, which can harm the auditory system. These chemicals can interfere with the transmission of sound signals from the ear to the brain, potentially leading to hearing difficulties.
  • Accelerated Aging: Smoking is known to accelerate the aging process of various organs, including the auditory system. Smokers often experience hearing loss at a younger age compared to non-smokers.

Given these points, it’s evident that smoking not only poses a threat to your overall health but can also harm your hearing. The good news is that quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of hearing loss. Studies have shown that ex-smokers have a lower likelihood of developing hearing problems compared to current smokers.


Protecting your hearing is essential for maintaining a high quality of life. By being mindful of these unintentional habits that can harm your hearing, you can take proactive steps to preserve your auditory health.

At Hear4U, we’re committed to helping you protect and enhance your hearing. If you have concerns about your hearing, or if you’re overdue for a hearing check-up, we invite you to book a free hearing test with us today. Our experienced team of hearing care professionals is here to support you every step of the way.

Additionally, if you have earwax concerns, rest assured that we can safely remove it for you. Excessive earwax buildup can affect your hearing, and our experts can provide gentle and effective solutions to ensure your ears remain clean and comfortable.

Your hearing health matters to us, and we’re dedicated to helping you enjoy the sounds of life to the fullest. Take that first step towards better hearing by scheduling your appointment with us today.