Life hack is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as: “A strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.” Life hacks can help save you both time and money, and some are so simple you’ll ask yourself why you hadn’t previously thought of them.
Clever but simple life-hacks include shifting your toaster sideways to make a grilled cheese sandwich, using the sticky portion of sticky notes to clean in between the keys of a keyboard, and using duct tape to open jars.
Life-hacks can also apply to the human body: examples include scratching your ear to eliminate an itch in your throat, lying on your left side to relieve acid reflux, and pushing your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth to alleviate brain freeze from ice cream.
But what about our hearing? Are there any life-hacks we can employ to allow us to hear better or with less effort? As it happens, there are quite a few—here are our picks for the best 7.
1. Test your hearing online
You can quickly check for hearing loss using one of the many apps accessible online, or by taking the online hearing test on our website. If the results reveal hearing loss, you can then schedule a professional hearing test with your community hearing care provider.
2. Employ white noise for a better night’s sleep
Research suggests that employing white noise can help you sleep better as it helps to develop a bedtime routine, keeps the room calm, and helps “turn off” your active brain.
3. Use specialty earplugs to prevent hearing loss
Prolonged and repeated exposure to any sound higher than 85 decibels can stimulate irreversible hearing loss (rock concerts can get to over 100 decibels). Using custom earplugs is a simple way to avoid hearing injury, and the most current earplugs can conserve sound quality while reducing volume. Contact your local hearing care professional for more information.
4. Protect your hearing with the inverse square law
This law of physics could end up saving your hearing. The inverse square law states that as you double the distance from the origin of sound the intensity of the sound declines by 75 percent. So, in lieu of standing front row at a rock concert, increase your distance from the loudspeakers as much as you can (while retaining a good view).
5. Use the 60/60 rule when listening to music
If you listen to a portable music player with headphones, maintain the volume at 60 percent of the maximum volume for not more than 60 minutes per day to prevent hearing loss.
6. Favor your right ear for speech
A study executed over the course of six years by scientists at UCLA and the University of Arizona discovered that the right ear is better designed for speech and the left ear for music. So the next time you’re having issues hearing a conversation, turn your right ear toward the speaker.
7. Control your listening environment
Using hearing aids is probably not considered a life-hack, but it is the only way to properly improve hearing in the presence of hearing loss—and the things you can do with modern hearing aids are truly extraordinary.
For instance, a number of hearing aids are wireless and can be operated with smartphones or digital watches. That means the user can inconspicuously adjust volume and settings for each situation—in essence, the user can literally control the sound environment. We can’t think of any other life-hack cooler or more valuable than that.
What did we miss? What are your preferred life-hacks (health-related or in general)?