It’s a fact. We live in a noisy world. But noise should not keep us from enjoying the activities we like to do and frequenting the places we love to go!
Noise-induced hearing loss prevention is key to your hearing health. Here are three ways to protect your hearing from damaging noise:
(1) Protect Your Ears:
Cover your ears with ear plugs, ear muffs, or even your fingers. Depending on the situation, one of these hearing protection choices will help.
(2) Walk Away:
That’s right, move away from the sound source if possible and the decibel level will reduce.
By moving away, the decibel (dB) level of a sound will decrease by 6 dB every time you double the distance from the sound. This “Inverse Square Law” teaches us that for every doubling of the distance between a sound source and the recipient of the sound, a 6 dB drop would occur if there were no echo (as from a mountain top). This would be the equivalent to cutting your noise pressure levels by 75%.
(3) Turn it Down
Turn down the volume on your personal stereo system (MP3, CD player, etc.), car stereo, radio, and television and speaker system.
HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?
A decibel (dB) is used to measure sound level and provides a guide for what types of noise are harmful to hearing. Hearing protection is recommended for anything above 85 dB.
Estimates from the World Health Organization suggest that hearing loss afflicts 28 million Americans.
SPECIALIZED HEARING PROTECTION OPTIONS
Earplugs (foam or soft plastic): we recommend that everyone carry a pair of these with them. You never know when you will be exposed to unsafe noise levels: sporting events, outdoor equipment, concerts, and so much more!
Musician’s Earplugs (custom made to fit your ears): If you play in a band or frequent concerts, we recommend you get a custom set of musician’s earplugs. These earplugs will not block the sound but will filter it to a safer decibel level so that you can still enjoy the experience without damaging your hearing.
Electronic Earmuff: Some earmuffs use a microphone embedded in the earcup to pick up sounds and transmit them to an earphone inside. These are excellent for use while hunting or on the firing line.
SIGNS YOU MAY BE EXPERIENCE HEARING LOSS
According to the American Osteopathic Association, “one in five teens has some form of hearing loss—a rate about 30% higher than it was in the 1980s and 1990s—which many experts believe is due, in part, to the increased use of headphones.” And once you lose it, you never get it back. Damage to your cochlea—the elegantly designed, snail-shaped part of your ear that detects sound—is permanent, so it’s critical that you treat hearing checks as part of your general preventative health, just like going to the dentist and your annual physical.
Perhaps the most dangerous thing that happens with hearing loss is that it’s not always easy to tell there’s a problem. Permanent hearing losses can go undetected for years before you decide it’s time to see an audiologist. Monitoring and managing your hearing health is part of a comprehensive preventative health program. Here are ten questions that will help you determine whether you (or a friend or family member) should have a professional hearing test conducted by a healthcare professional.
- Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
- Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?
- Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
- Do you have to strain to understand conversation?
- Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy environment?
- Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?
- Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or to not speak clearly)?
- Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
- Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
- Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, we recommend getting your hearing checked. At Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center we have a professional and caring Healthy Hearing Team waiting to serve you—please give us a call to schedule your appointment! 206.323.5770