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The Apple Watch will now help protect your hearing

Apple watch hearing
When living in an actively loud world, we often forget to protect our hearing. Apple is taking the lead in changing this by adding a noise monitoring feature to their newest Apple Watch.

The feature will monitor noise through the built-in microphone on the watch and alert the user when the noise level is not safe for their ears.

Chuck Kardous, a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, explained to Wired Magazine why this feature is important for people.

Photo: Apple

Example of noise warning on Apple Watch. (photo: Apple)

“It [hearing loss] happens so slowly and gradually that people don’t notice until it’s gone,” Kardous he said to Wired. “And once it’s gone it’s gone.”

He told Wired that he had been expecting this feature to be available on Apple Watches, after numerous conversations with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and its “Make Listening Safe” initiative. This initiative consisted of the WHO inviting experts to discuss noise-induced hearing loss with Apple engineers

“What was interesting to us was that there have been Apple engineers at every meeting we attended,” he said. “They wanted to know about the latest research, and what organizations around the world were recommending.”

Why do we need a warning for loud sounds?

Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. adults have warning signs of noise-induced hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).  Thats about 24 percent of  20-to 69-year-olds.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by listening to loud music through headphones, or not using hearing protection in loud environments – such as sports arenas, concerts, in the workplace.

Hearing damage often goes unnoticed at first because it is usually a gradual decline of hearing.

Read more: This is how loud a typical day is 

3 ways to protect your hearing

Companies such as Apple may make it easier to recognize loud noises in the future, but there are several lifestyle changes you can make now to begin saving your hearing.

1. Listen to your ears

The most important thing is to listen to what your ears are telling you! If you start hearing or experiencing rushing or whistling sounds in your ears/head it is a sign that you should give your ears a rest, allow yourself a day of peace and quiet and turn the volume well down in future.

2. Learn the 60:60 rule

Everyone loves music, but sending music directly into your ears via MP3 player earbuds can cause major damage. The iPod can produce a maximum of 100-115 decibels, which is the equivalent similar to using a chainsaw or attending a rock concert, according to Time.

The 60:60 rule ensures your ears get a break. Enjoy music from your MP3 player safely by listening to your music at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

3. Have ear protection on hand

There are many different ways to protect your ears. Hearing protection comes in various types, including ear plugs, ear plugs with frames, wadding, ear molds, headphones and ear muffs. Always have an option on hand, especially when you know to you’re heading to a loud place.

You can read more ways to save and protect your hearing here! Remember that you can’t reverse hearing damage.

How often do you protect your hearing? Let us know in the comments!

Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill Blocker von Bueren and Lisa Goldstein.