Woman cupping had around ear

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 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 straightforward life-hacks include shifting your toaster oven sideways to make a grilled cheese sandwich, utilizing the sticky region of sticky notes to clean between the keys of a keyboard, and using duct tape to open jars.

Life-hacks can even relate to the human body: some examples include scratching your ear to soothe an itch in your throat, lying on your left side to ease acid reflux, and pushing your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth to alleviate brain freeze from ice cream or frozen foods.

But what about your hearing? Are there any life-hacks we can apply to allow us to hear better or easier? As it happens, there are several—here are our picks for the best 7.

1. Check your hearing using the internet

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

2. Employ white noise to sleep better

Research suggests that using white noise can help you sleep better as it helps to establish a bedtime habit, keeps the room quiet, and helps “turn off” your lively brain.

3. Use customized earplugs to prevent hearing loss

Extended and recurring exposure to any sound higher than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss (rock concerts can achieve over 100 decibels). Wearing custom earplugs is an easy way to prevent hearing damage, and the newest earplugs can conserve sound quality while limiting volume. Contact your local hearing care provider for more information.

4. Protect your hearing with the inverse square law

This law of physics could save your hearing. The inverse square law specifies that as you double the distance from the origin of sound the intensity of the sound declines by 75 percent. So, rather than standing front row at a rock concert, increase your distance from the loudspeakers as much as you can (while maintaining a good view).

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

If you listen to a portable mp3 music player with headphones, keep the volume at 60 percent of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes per day to prevent hearing loss.

6. Favor your right ear for conversations

A study conducted over the course of six years by researchers 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. Control your hearing environment

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

As an example, a number of hearing aids are wireless and can be operated with mobile phones or digital watches. That means the user can discreetly adjust volume and settings for each situation—in essence, the user can literally control the sound environment. We can’t come up with 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)?

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