Exposure to loud noise can damage the sensitive structures in the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). People of all ages can develop NIHL. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that 26 million people between the ages of 20 and 69 have NIHL, and the World Health Organization warns that 1.1 billion teens are at risk for NIHL.
Personal technologies like audio devices, smartphones, and electronic toys can produce damaging sounds anywhere from 85 to 136 decibels. It is recommended that the exposure to sound be limited to 80 decibels since sounds at or below this level are not known to cause hearing loss. However, extended or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing impairment.
Here are some loud sounds that can cause noise-induced hearing loss:
Besides damaging your hearing, NIHL can lead to:
There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss. By far the best option is avoidance. Sufferers of NIHL often find that hearing aids can help overcome their hearing deficit. A person who suspects he or she might have NIHL should see an audiologist to determine their type and degree of hearing loss and to learn if hearing aids might help.
Noise is unavoidable, but you can follow these seven tips to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss:
Remember that noise-induced hearing loss can lead to learning and communication difficulties, tinnitus, or muffled hearing. You must identify loud noises and reduce your exposure to them. Follow these tips to protect your hearing:
If you are exposed to loud noises at work, you can:
To protect your hearing, you can buy:
Dangerously loud sounds are, for most of us, a fact of daily life and it can be difficult or impossible to avoid all of these sounds all of the time. By being cognizant of the hazards of very loud noise, though, you can take steps to limit your exposure to it.
Check the noise levels of home and workshop appliances before you buy them. You often can find the device’s decibel output in the manual. Invest in appliances that have low or safe noise ratings. If you must use appliances with a high decibel output, then consider using hearing protection when operating the device.
Fitness classes can produce sounds from 90 to 110 decibels, which can damage your hearing. Before joining a gym, ask if they have a trial period and use this time to see if the noise level is comfortable for you.
After prolonged exposure to loud noises, try to move to a quieter environment and rest your ears for at least 12 to 16 hours.
Getting your hearing tested regularly will help you detect and diagnose problems before they become worse. Contact us at 949-536-5180 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Hoffman and get your hearing checked.
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