Sorry to shout- but it appears many people have some sort of hearing damage and it isn’t just old people. We live in a noisy world and the use of personal listening devices among other things, is causing us to lose our hearing at an earlier age. Noise-induced hearing loss happens in a variety of ways. It can be sudden and instantaneous, such as when you are exposed to an extremely loud burst of sound—an explosion or an air horn, for example. Or in the case of my son-in-law, a bomb going off next to your head. Hearing loss can also happen gradually from working on a loud construction site.
In honor of Save Your Hearing Day (does Hallmark have a card for that?) which is today, here are a few tips:
Cranking up the volume on your ipod or other device can lead to long term hearing damage. So what’s the maximum volume of your iPod when using Apple’s stock earbuds? A little over 100 decibles, well into the zone where you could cause damage. In fact, at such sound levels, you can damage your hearing in a matter of minutes. Simply put, if you frequently listen to your iPod—or any music player—at loud volumes, you’re likely to damage your hearing. Studies also show that as your heart rate increases, so does the sensitivity in your ears so you should turn the volume DOWN as you heat UP.
- If you work in an at-risk occupation, check with your employer to make sure you have adequately protected your hearing according to OSHA regulations.
- Limit exposure time to noisy activities.
- Wear hearing protection, such as foam or silicone plugs or muffs. Foam plugs are available at your pharmacy while muffs and specialized ear protection can be purchased at sporting good stores or safety equipment stores.
- At home, turn down the volume on the television, radio, and stereos
- Wear ear plugs or muffs when using loud equipment (i.e. lawn mowers, power saw, leaf blower).
- Buy quieter products (compare dB ratings – the smaller the better).
- Reduce the number of noisy appliances running at the same time in your personal environment.
- Avoid medications that can be dangerous to your hearing. Be sure to ask your physician about possible effects on your hearing.
An Ounce of Prevention
Be alert to hazardous noise. Since prevention is so critical, make sure that your family (especially children), friends, and colleagues are aware of the hazards of noise. Remember: One-third of hearing loss is preventable with proper hearing protection.