How many times do you ask someone to speak up or repeat themselves? If you're like most people, probably often. Things like listening to music too loudly, or working in a noisy environment can cause hearing loss. It's becoming more common in younger people, especially with the rise of hearing buds to listen to music.

So here are some tips, no matter what age you are, from the Local Experts at Beltone New England. Beltone is known for being the leaders in hearing technology and that's why we look to them for expert advice.

1.Keep the Ear Canal Free

Avoid inserting items, such as double-ended cotton swabs, in the ear canal as this can cause damage to the inner ear.

2.Regular Checkups

Regular checkups with a family doctor should also include the ears. A doctor checks a person's ears for any signs of damage or hearing problems.

3.Lower the Volume

Turn down the volume on the television to low, until it takes focus to hear the sound. This exercise forces the brain to work harder to hear and gradually teaches the brain concentrated hearing

4.Speak Quietly

Talk with others in a quiet manner. This exercise forces the brain to pick out tonal changes in the voice, instead of focusing on hearing higher volume noises.

5.Protect the Ears

Use protection in the form of earmuffs or earplugs when in environments with volumes of more than 85 decibels. Also, use protection when using loud tools such as snow blowers, lawnmowers and power tools.

 6.Limit Exposure

When a person experiences sounds that are too loud for a long period, permanent damage to the ears and hearing loss can occur. Limit all exposure to loud noises.

7.Rest the Ears

After exposure to extremely loud environments such as concerts, give the ears a rest by avoiding additional loud noises and utilizing earplugs or earmuffs

8. Get your ears tested

Its always a good idea to have your latest hearing test on file in case you need proof you never had a loss before an accident.

9. Don't clean your ears!

That's right. Most of us have been taught to remove excess ear wax and other debris from the ear canal with a cotton swab. This is dangerous. It's very easy to damage the ear drum for one thing.

10.Educate yourself and others.

In addition to learning about hearing loss yourself, you can help protect family members like children and grandchildren by teaching them how to prevent it too. Help others understand what kinds of environments are risky, and what steps they should take to prevent problems.

Find Beltone locations at 513 State Rd in Dartmouth and 218 Sandwich Rd in Wareham.