Loss of hearing can have a profound effect on a person’s life. While some types of hearing loss cannot be avoided, many noise related impairments can be. Noise is defined as any external sound. It can range from soft to extremely loud, enjoyable to highly unpleasant.
Depending on the type of loud noise, sudden or prolonged exposure can damage the inner ear, resulting in deafness. Exposure to external noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss if it is too loud.
When working around noise, consider these steps to help protect yourself from hearing loss:
1. Pay Attention to the Decibels
No matter how young or old you are, it is important to take care of your inner ears to avoid permanent damage. Many things we do during the day increase our risk of hurting our inner auditory receptors. Taking precautionary steps, especially during loud situations, will protect your audio sensory mechanisms.
In order to properly take care of your ears, you should be aware that sound is measured in decibels. Anything over 85 decibels is considered too loud and can harm the ears. Different audios have different levels. For example, whispering usually measures at 30 decibels, a lawnmower measures 90 decibels, and a first responder’s vehicle siren typically measures 120 decibels.
2. Wearing Earbuds or Headphones
Almost everyone uses some form of earbud or headphone apparatus to listen to their devices. Whether you are playing music, a video, or engaged in a telephone conversation, the most common tool used to hear the vocals is a device that goes inside or sits over the external auditory body part. It is recommended that the sound should be below 60 percent of the appliance’s total capacity. However, some individuals crank the volume much higher while many will automatically adjust their audio level to a comfortable range.
Studies have found that taking regular breaks from headphone and bud usage, even for five minutes every hour, is beneficial to protect your hearing. The maximum recommended time using these sound control devices will depend on how loud the noise is. The general rule for using ear instruments is three hours maximum per session.
3. Wearing Noise Reduction Devices
Often the noise coming from the external audio covering is not harming the inner ear because people will automatically adjust to a more comfortable level. The harm comes from the accumulation of the other external sounds in the background going on at the same time. Traffic, people talking, other noise making equipment, weather related sounds and pets all add to the decibel levels that are assaulting your eardrums. When purchasing hearing accessories, look for ones that block the background recordings so your senses are not overwhelmed.
4. Ear Plugs
Ear plugs are great devices to use during loud events such as concerts, sporting events, or work related situations where amplified booming is occurring. Ear plugs will reduce the amount of stimulation entering the sensory canal so you do not harm your delicate internal audio instruments.
5. Work and Home Safeguards
There are many jobs we do at home and work that increase the decibel levels and risk to our auditory sensations. Taking precautions to reduce the amount of sound, following noise bylaws and guidelines, and wearing protective gear during those events will help reduce your risk of causing permanent hearing loss.
6. Get Your Hearing Tested
Regular check-ups at the hearing clinic can verify good hearing, but they can also detect early issues before they become major life changing conditions. Audiologists can advise you on steps to take to protect your natural noise amplifiers so you can live with healthy hearing.
Protecting your ears from loud noise is important to ensure that you do not cause permanent damage and loss of one of your most important senses.