There are many causes of hearing loss, most of which are outside your control. But one, known as noise-induced hearing loss, is preventable. Below is a breakdown of what causes this type of hearing loss and five things you can do to protect your hearing health.
Understand Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Anything over 85 dB can cause permanent damage to the delicate hair cells within your inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses, which are sent to your brain to be interpreted as sound.
Unlike the hair on other parts of your body, the hair cells within your ear cannot be regrown. This means any damage is permanent.
According to a 2017 report put out by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), nearly one in four American adults between the ages of 20 to 69 are experiencing hearing loss caused by exposure to noise.
Be Aware of Which Sounds Are Too Loud
The only way you can protect yourself from sounds that can cause hearing loss is to understand which sounds are too loud. Here is an average decibel rating chart of some familiar sounds put together by NIDCD:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB.
- Movie theater: 74-104 dB.
- Dirt bike: 80-110 dB.
- Sporting event: 94-110 dB.
- Sirens: 110-129 dB.
- Fireworks: 140-160 dB.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
We are constantly surrounded by noise in our daily lives. From commuting to work to walking by the construction site on Couch Street, your ears are being exposed to dangerously loud sounds.
Be Aware of the Dangers of Earbuds
Listening to music through headphones can put your ears at risk, as you can easily turn the volume up too loud. Earbud-style headphones are more dangerous than the traditional over-ear models, as they put the sound even closer to your eardrum.
You can continue using this stylish headphone style, as long as you do so safely. Make sure to turn the volume down and take listening breaks to help prevent long-term damage.
Be on the Lookout for Ear Protection
The best way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to avoid exposure. This is unfortunately not always possible. If exposure to noise is unavoidable, the next best thing is to wear proper ear protection.
Disposable earplugs can be purchased at any local pharmacy. if you are often put in dangerously loud situations or you just want a product that is more comfortable and delivers superior protection, consider getting a pair of custom earplugs created from a mold of your ear. To learn more about protecting your hearing from loud noises or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Audiology Center Northwest today.