Top Hearing Loss Threats

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Everyday things-- like listening to loud music on a smartphone-- can take a toll on your ears. The roar of a gas lawn mower becomes another threat to your hearing after two hours. Think that's bad? A thunderous concert or a noisy bar can do damage in under five minutes.

So protect your hearing. Turn down the volume on personal devices. If you can't avoid loud noise, wear earplugs. You should still be able to hear what's going on. Cotton swabs are dangerous for your ears in a different way. Using them to clean out wax could scratch your ear canal. Wax usually falls out on its own. So if your ears feel clogged, talk to your doctor.

Finally, never try to pierce your own ears or let a friend do it. You could get a skin infection or you could catch blood borne diseases like hepatitis or HIV from contaminated equipment. Instead, go to a licensed salon where the piercers wash their hands, wear gloves, and use sterilized equipment.