NAMPA, ID 208-616-1994
BOISE, ID 208-505-9520

Woman cupping had around ear

Oxford Dictionaries defines life-hack 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 you save both money and time, and some are so easy you’ll ask yourself why you hadn’t previously thought of them.

Creative but straightforward life-hacks include turning your toaster oven sideways to make a grilled cheese sandwich, using the sticky portion of sticky notes to clean between the individual keys of a keyboard, and using duct tape to open jars.

Life-hacks can also relate to the human body: examples include scratching your ear to alleviate an itch in your throat, lying on your left side to soothe 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 make use of to allow us to hear better or easier? As it happens, there are quite a few—here are our selections for the top 7.

1. Test your hearing on the web

You can rapidly check for hearing loss using one of the several apps available online, or by completing the online hearing test on our website. If the results suggest hearing loss, you can subsequently set up a professional hearing test with your community hearing care provider.

2. Employ white noise for a better night’s sleep

Studies suggest that using white noise can help you to sleep better as it helps to build a bedtime habit, keeps the room quiet, and helps “power down” your lively brain.

3. Wear customized earplugs to prevent hearing loss

Prolonged and recurring exposure to any sound higher than 85 decibels can lead to irreparable hearing loss (rock concerts can reach over 100 decibels). Wearing custom made earplugs is a simple way to avoid hearing injury, and the most current earplugs can retain 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 save your hearing. The inverse square law states that as you double the distance from the source of sound the intensity of the sound falls 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 preserving a good view).

5. Use the 60/60 rule when listening to music

If you listen to a portable music player with earbuds, 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 found that the right ear is better designed for speech and the left ear for music. So the next time you’re having trouble hearing a conversation, turn your right ear toward the speaker.

7. Regulate your hearing environment

Using hearing aids is probably not thought of as a life-hack, but it is the only means to appropriately enhance hearing in the presence of hearing loss—and the things you can perform with modern-day hearing aids are truly amazing.

For example, a number of hearing aids are wireless and can be operated with mobile phones or digital watches. That means the user can discreetly modify volume and settings for each circumstance—in essence, the user can literally regulate the sound environment. We can’t come up with any other life-hack cooler or more helpful than that.

What did we forget? What are your favorite life-hacks (health-related or in general)?