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

Creative but straightforward life-hacks include shifting your toaster 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 even apply to the human body: some examples include scratching your ear to alleviate an itch in your throat, lying on your left side to lessen acid reflux, and forcing 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? As it happens, there are several—here are our picks for the best 7.

1. Check your hearing on the web

You can quickly test for hearing loss with one of the many apps available online, or by completing the online hearing test on our website. If the final results show hearing loss, you can subsequently arrange a professional hearing test with your local 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 create a bedtime routine, keeps the room calm, and helps “turn off” your lively brain.

3. Wear customized earplugs to avoid hearing loss

Prolonged and recurring exposure to any sound above 85 decibels can create irreparable hearing loss (rock concerts can reach over 100 decibels). Wearing custom made earplugs is a simple way to prevent hearing injury, and the latest earplugs can preserve sound quality while reducing volume. Contact your local hearing care provider 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 origin of sound the strength of the sound falls by 75 percent. So, in lieu of standing front row at a rock concert, increase your distance from the loudspeakers as much as you can (while preserving a good view).

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

If you listen to a portable music player with earbuds, keep the volume at 60 percent of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes per day to prevent hearing loss.

6. Favor your right ear for conversations

A study conducted over the course of six years by scientists 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 following a conversation, turn your right ear towards the speaker.

7. Control your listening environment

Wearing hearing aids is probably not regarded as a life-hack, but it is the only means to properly improve hearing in the presence of hearing loss—and the things you can do with contemporary hearing aids are truly extraordinary.

As an example, some hearing aids are wireless and can be operated with smartphones or digital watches. As a result, the user can discreetly adjust volume and settings for each situation—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 preferred life-hacks (health-related or in general)?