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 easy you’ll wonder why you hadn’t previously thought of them.

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

Life-hacks can even apply to the human body: examples include scratching your ear to cure an itch in your throat, lying on your left side to lessen 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 hearing? Are there any life-hacks we can use to allow us to hear better or with less effort? It turns out that there are several—here are our selections for the top 7.

1. Test your hearing on the web

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

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

Research suggests that employing white noise can help you sleep better as it helps to build a bedtime routine, keeps the room calm, and helps “power down” your active brain.

3. Wear customized earplugs to avoid hearing loss

Prolonged and repeated exposure to any sound above 85 decibels can trigger irreversible hearing loss (rock concerts can achieve over 100 decibels). Wearing custom earplugs is an easy way to avoid hearing damage, and the latest earplugs can retain sound quality while reducing volume. Call your local hearing care professional for more information.

4. Safeguard 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 strength of the sound falls by 75 percent. So, instead 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 mp3 music player with headphones, maintain the volume at 60 percent of the maximum volume for a maximum of 60 minutes per day to prevent hearing loss.

6. Favor your right ear for speech

A study performed over the course of six years by researchers 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 understanding a conversation, direct your right ear towards 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 enhance hearing in the presence of hearing loss—and the things you can do with contemporary hearing aids are truly incredible.

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

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

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