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 help save you both time and money, and some are so simple you’ll wonder why you hadn’t already thought of them.

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

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

But what about your hearing? Are there any life-hacks we can use to help us hear better or easier? As it happens, there are quite a few—here are our selections for the best 7.

1. Test your hearing online

You can quickly check for hearing loss with one of the several applications available online, or by completing the online hearing test on our website. If the findings 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

Studies suggest that using white noise can help you to sleep better as it helps to establish a bedtime ritual, keeps the room quiet, and helps “shut down” your busy brain.

3. Wear customized earplugs to prevent hearing loss

Extended and recurring exposure to any sound higher than 85 decibels can develop into permanent hearing loss (rock concerts can get to over 100 decibels). Using custom made earplugs is a simple way to protect against hearing injury, and the newest earplugs can preserve sound quality while reducing volume. Call your local hearing care provider for more information.

4. Protect your hearing with the inverse square law

This law of physics could end up saving your hearing. The inverse square law states that as you double the distance from the origin of sound the strength of the sound drops by 75 percent. So, in lieu 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 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 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, direct 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 way to appropriately improve hearing in the presence of hearing loss—and the things you can perform with modern-day hearing aids are truly incredible.

As an example, some hearing aids are wireless and can be controlled with smartphones or digital watches. That means the individual can discreetly adjust volume and settings for each scenario—in essence, the user can literally control the sound environment. We can’t find 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)?