Did you know that you can permanently lose your hearing from exposure to loud noise?
Thirty six million Americans have hearing loss. 1 in 3 of those persons developed their hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise. October is National Protect Your Hearing Month and the audiologists at the Easter Seals Center for Better Hearing are encouraging individuals to protect their hearing. Some simple strategies to prevent hearing loss caused by noise exposure includes:
- Wearing hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85dB for a long period of time.
- Turning down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through ear buds and headphones.
- Walking away from loud noise.
“Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to tiny hair cells that are found in our inner ear. These hair cells convert the sounds we hear into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss” explains Annette Burton, Au.D., the director of audiology for the Easter Seals Center for Better Hearing.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise such as concerts, sporting events, lawnmowers, fireworks, gun shots, custom car stereos at full volume, and more. “When an individual is exposed to loud sounds such as in a concert or after using power tools, their ears might seem “stuffy” afterwards. This phenomenon is a temporary hearing loss. Repeated temporary damage can lead to permanent hearing loss” explains Dr. Burton.
There are many options available for hearing protection. Ear muffs and ear plugs are sold in many hardware and sporting good stores and are a good inexpensive solution. Custom and semi- custom hearing protection is available for many situations including specialized hearing protection for musicians that allows certain sounds to be heard at lower levels without compromising sound quality. Custom and semi-custom hearing protection can be obtained through an audiologist or online.
Hearing impairment not only affects the ability to understand speech but it also has a negative
impact on your social and emotional well-being. If you suspect that you or your loved one may have hearing loss, make an appointment to see one of our audiologists. He or she will perform a hearing test to determine the type and severity of hearing loss you may have.