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 save you both money and time, and some are so simple you’ll ask yourself why you hadn’t previously thought of them.

Clever but simple life-hacks include flipping your toaster sideways to make a grilled cheese sandwich, using the sticky region of sticky notes to clean between the individual keys of a keyboard, and using duct tape to open jars.

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

But what about hearing? Are there any life-hacks we can apply 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. Check your hearing online

You can rapidly check for hearing loss with one of the several apps accessible online, or by taking the online hearing test on our website. If the final results show hearing loss, you can then book a professional hearing test with your community hearing care provider.

2. Use white noise to sleep better

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

3. Use custom made earplugs to prevent hearing loss

Prolonged and repeated exposure to any sound higher than 85 decibels can induce irreparable hearing loss (rock concerts can get to over 100 decibels). Using custom earplugs is an easy way to protect against hearing injury, and the latest earplugs can conserve sound quality while reducing volume. Contact 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 specifies that as you double the distance from the source of sound the strength of the sound declines by 75 percent. So, instead of standing front row at a rock concert, increase your distance from the speakers as much as you can (while sustaining a good view).

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

If you listen to a portable mp3 music player with earbuds, 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 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 listening environment

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

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 scenario—in essence, the user can literally control the sound environment. We can’t come up with any other life-hack cooler or more useful than that.


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