Do you talk on your cellphone for more than an hour a day? Then you’re at risk for inner ear damage and permanent hearing loss!

Hearing specialist Dr. Robert Feens says that’s because when we’re in a loud environment, we often attempt to hear above the noise by turning the speaker setting on our cellphones to maximum volume… which can reach 80 decibels, in some cases. And there are all kinds of “get arounds” on the Internet that claim you can raise the volume even higher.

And already, a study at Rutgers University found that 1-in-4 people who talk on their phone for at least an hour a day, and usually hold it up to the same ear, have at least some evidence of permanent hearing impairment. So, protect your hearing by texting as often as possible and using speakerphone when appropriate. And if your ears start ringing, see a doctor right away – because that’s an early sign of inner ear damage. And a big wake-up call to lower the volume on your smartphone, and make fewer calls.

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