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.

Imaginative but straightforward life-hacks include shifting your toaster oven sideways to make a grilled cheese sandwich, using the sticky portion of sticky notes to clean in between the individual keys of a keyboard, and using duct tape to open jars.

Life-hacks can even relate to the human body: examples include scratching your ear to relieve an itch in your throat, lying on your left side to relieve 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 quite a few—here are our selections for the top 7.

1. Check your hearing on the web

You can rapidly check 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 imply hearing loss, you can then arrange a professional hearing test with your local hearing care provider.

2. Utilize white noise to sleep better

Research suggests that employing white noise can help you sleep better as it helps to develop a bedtime routine, keeps the room quiet, and helps “turn off” your busy brain.

3. Wear customized earplugs to avoid hearing loss

Extended and recurring exposure to any sound above 85 decibels can create irreparable hearing loss (rock concerts can achieve over 100 decibels). Using custom made earplugs is a simple 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. 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 source of sound the intensity of the sound declines by 75 percent. So, instead of standing front row at a rock concert, increase your distance from the loudspeakers as much as you can (while maintaining a good view).

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

If you listen to a portable mp3 music player with headphones, 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 scientists 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 issues hearing a conversation, direct your right ear towards the speaker.

7. Regulate your hearing environment

Using 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 perform with modern hearing aids are truly extraordinary.

As an example, some hearing aids are wireless and can be controlled with smartphones or digital watches. As a result, the user can inconspicuously modify 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 favorite life-hacks (health-related or in general)?