You may have experienced hearing a wide range of noises from the softness of a loved one’s voice to the sirens on a fire truck, or a more soothing sound of your favorite music. These sounds are measured using a decibel. This is a ratio between power, sound pressure, and voltage.
Measuring the Intensity of Sound
Sound moves in the form of energy waves. It is measured via frequency and amplitude.
The Increase in Decibels is Exponential
A 10 dB increase indicates that the sound is 10 times louder, and a 20 dB increase indicates that the sound is 100 times louder.
A List of Decibels for Common Sounds
Simply being told a number for a decibel measurement probably doesn’t mean anything, unless you are a hearing healthcare professional or someone who frequently uses a decibel meter app.
Hearing loss can occur with decibels as low as 70 (that’s after frequent or prolonged exposure).
These noises can lead to immediate and permanent hearing loss after one exposure at close-range:
150-160 dB - A shotgun/firearm
140 dB - A jet engine as it departs a runway/fireworks
120 dB - An emergency vehicle siren/concerts
These noises can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) after regular, prolonged exposure:
110 dB - A rock concert
105-130 dB - Sports events (based on the size and style of the arena/stadium)
105 dB - Playing music through earbuds or headphones at the highest volume
100 dB - A motorcycle
90 dB - Power tools/lawn mower
80-90 dB - Heavy traffic
Anyone with untreated mild-to-moderate hearing loss tends to struggle with hearing these softer sounds:
70 dB - Vacuum cleaner
60 dB - Normal conversation with one other person
50 dB - A conversation among a group of people
20 dB - Rustling leaves
10 dB - Breathing
How are Decibels Measured?
Hearing loss is measured according to the lowest range of decibels that you can hear. A person with normal hearing can hear leaves rustling or water dripping into the sink or on the ground (~10 dB), but someone with mild hearing loss would not be able to hear that sound. Frequency and pitch are other parts of hearing loss. Loss of hearing in higher frequencies is more common than in lower frequencies. There are different combinations of decibel and frequency loss.
Normal hearing ability: 10-20 dB
Mild hearing loss: 25-40 dB
Moderate hearing loss: 40-55 dB
Moderately severe hearing loss: 55-69 dB
Severe hearing loss: 70-89 dB
Profound hearing loss: 90-120 dB
How can You tell if an Environment is too Loud?
If you are in a noisy area and concerned that you could lose your hearing, here are a few things you can do:
Be Cautious, especially if You Have Hearing Loss.
If you wear hearing aids, you need to be aware of the noise levels in your environment. Hearing aids amplify sounds, so you are still at risk of hearing loss just like everyone else. You can ask your hearing instrument specialist to program a special setting for these occasions.
Do not turn off your hearing aids as a way to try and protect your hearing. If they are not snugly fit in your ear canal, they will not be able to block out harmful sounds when switched off. Instead, you won’t be able to hear the sounds that you want/need to hear.
Work with a professional hearing instrument specialist to establish the correct hearing protection for the event that you will attend or the activity that you will be participating in.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
If you wear hearing aids and plan to attend a concert this summer, consider some of these issues that may come up.
Whether you wear your hearing aids to a concert depends on your preferences. Some would recommend removing your hearing aids and wearing earplugs instead to protect your hearing. Depending on the music genre, the sounds will generally be loud enough for you to hear.
If you choose to wear your hearing aids during a concert, you can turn down the volume on the devices.
Additional protection like noise-canceling earmuffs can be helpful. These are better at canceling out sounds than earplugs while shielding the sound-transmitting bones that make up your ears. Encourage others who arrived at the concert with you to protect their hearing health.
Concerts run for about 60-90 minutes, so bring your hearing aids along. After the event is over you’ll need them to hear your friends.
Ask the Venue about Accessibility Services
Prior to your visit, contact the music venue to ask about accessibility options. Most concert halls and venues feature systems to help audience members who can’t hear clearly, have mobility issues, or have any other problem that can interfere with how they enjoy their time at the concert.
The T-Mobile Arena accessibility guide features different accommodation options. Captioning services can be provided to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Make sure that the services which are listed on the venue’s website, will be available during your visit. The majority of venues need a warning beforehand so that they may accurately accommodate your needs.
Get Recommendations from Your Hearing Instrument Specialist
All hearing aids are different with a variety of features, so talk to your hearing instrument specialist for recommendations. For example, some hearing aids feature telecoils or t-coils.
T-coils can connect with loop systems within buildings. The loop system focuses on the music at the concert, while blocking out background noises like echoes. If your hearing aids feature a telecoil, your hearing instrument specialist will demonstrate how it works.
Hearing aids can also be programmed by your hearing instrument specialist so that you can have the best listening experience during the concert.
Preparing for a Live Concert
To make sure you have a great concert experience, here are some tips.
Don’t go alone
Not only is going with a friend more fun, but if your friend has stronger hearing abilities, they’ll be able to guide you through the area if the volume on your hearing aids needs to be turned down.
Stand or sit near the stage
If possible, be closer to the stage or a speaker. There will be less interference from other audience members. If you depend on an ASL interpreter, you’ll be more likely to see them if you are near the stage.
Be prepared when making purchases
Whether you are buying drinks, food, or merch, it can be overwhelming to choose when there’s too much background noise. Instead of making decisions on the spot, look online for merch or at a menu before selecting.
Switch off hearing aids if necessary
If sounds become overwhelming, turn off your hearing aids or wear hearing protection. Make your friends aware of this before the show so they know the best way to get your attention.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you need your hearing aids programmed before your next concert.
Seniors are at a higher risk of a number of health problems. It’s important to take care of your overall health and make better decisions about your diet, exercise routines, and lifestyle. This can help you better manage any potential health problems that stand in the way.
Hearing and vision loss are two of the most prevalent health conditions that seniors experience. More than 42% of individuals over 50 years of age have some hearing loss, and about 71% of individuals over 70 years of age have some range of hearing loss.
There are a lot of preventative measures, treatments, and daily habits to help you live a healthier life, even with presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). With knowledge and ways to manage health concerns, you can help your condition from getting worse.
Taking precautions now can make a huge difference. Listening to music or media at a low volume can help lower your risks of hearing loss. If you are in a noisy environment for an extensive period of time, wear earbuds or, if possible, move yourself to a quieter space. Wear earbuds when using loud tools or any motor-powered devices.
With age-related hearing loss, you may notice tinnitus, you may struggle to keep up with conversations, or have memory issues. Built-up earwax can obstruct sounds and should be softened and removed by a professional, not by inserting cotton swabs in the ear canal.
Diabetics should be attentive when taking care of their blood sugar. A healthy weight can help reduce the chances of hearing loss, along with regular exercise and eating healthily.
Immediately seek help if you begin to notice hearing loss.
Alleviating the Symptoms of Hearing Loss
To help manage your hearing loss, hearing aids can, and should, be worn. Hearing loss can deteriorate brain function because the brain is not reacting to sounds like it used to. Listening is a brain exercise that needs to be worked out on a regular basis.
Managing your hearing loss also means that you need to communicate your needs to family, friends, and coworkers so that they can better understand your situation and adapt accordingly. Maybe you’ll need to tell them to face you in a well-lit room when they speak, or they need to talk louder in certain situations. Communicating these things will help a great deal. Those with hearing loss may need to be patient with them, as they work through this new normal with you. Make a plan.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing problems with hearing, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
We’re raising awareness about potential hearing loss caused by loud noises. The inablity to hear can affect your speaking abilities. Not being able to hear after many years can impact your ability to remember the way speech sounds.
Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) started in 1927. Every May, hearing health and speech issues are given a platform to remind people to take care of their hearing health and get it tested.
Identifying and intervening immediately when hearing loss is suspected is crucial for a better outcome. Most people live with hearing loss, but are often unaware that there’s a problem. Getting your hearing checked annually, or if you suspect you have hearing loss is crucial for proper care and treatment.
The first World Report on Hearing from the World Health Organization
Hearing Health Facts
On average, a person is born with nearly 16,000 hair cells in their inner ear. These cells pick up sounds and transfer them to the brain so that they can be interpreted into something that makes sense. Often, when people notice hearing loss that indicates that most of the hair cells are damaged. Between 30% to 50% of hair cells can be lost before a difference in your hearing can be measured through a hearing test. Once the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged, it’s permanent and they cannot regrow.
Noise not only harms hair cells but also damages auditory nerves that transfer information regarding sounds to the brain. Early stages of damage may not appear on your hearing test results.
There is no way to restore hearing that’s been lost. Preventative measures are the key. Wear earplugs or earmuffs if you are going to be in a loud environment or use loud tools. If you already have hearing loss, tinnitus, or experience pain/discomfort, be aware of your surroundings and protect your hearing so that it does not worsen.
For better hearing and communication, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Exposure to excessive noise is one of the top causes of hearing loss around the globe for the 466 million people who have moderate to severe hearing loss. Noise exposure can harm anyone’s hearing, but young people are especially prone to this risk due to their music listening habits. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that approximately 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 are risking their hearing health as a result of noise exposure during recreational settings.
International Noise Awareness Day helps to bring attention to the fact that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent but can be prevented by avoiding loud areas and protecting your hearing with earplugs/earmuffs or covering your ears when in contact with loud noises.
What Noise Levels are Considered to be Too Loud?
If you live in a quiet neighborhood or have a job in a quiet work environment, most of the sounds are at safe listening levels. However, there can be noises that are unsafe for your ears. Overexposure to noises from kitchen appliances, heavy traffic noises, subway trains, power tools, rock concerts, industrial work environments, or construction zones can damage your hearing.
Environmental sound intensity is measured in decibel (dBA) units. The softest sound that can be heard by a human ear is zero decibels (dB). Noises that are over 70 dB can harm your hearing over a prolonged amount of time. Loud noises that are over 120 dB can instantly harm your ears. Essentially, the louder the sounds are, the less time it takes to damage your hearing.
Many years of research have documented damage to the inner ear’s hair cells that is caused by excessive noise. Recurring pounding sounds of pressure against the nerve fibers may initially lead to temporary hearing loss, and then permanent damage. Any damage to these hair cells can cause permanent hearing loss.
Noise Exposure Raises the Risk of Tinnitus
Tinnitus - the phantom buzzing, chirping, ringing, or roaring noise in the ears or head - can be caused by exposure to loud noises. Tinnitus might ease over time, but in some cases continue as an irregular or permanent symptom.
One of the primary causes of tinnitus is noise. Some of the most common triggers of tinnitus are concerts, weddings, and receiving MRIs. In other cases, it can be caused by one very loud event or a sequence of exposures. Hearing aids or sound therapy may be recommended to mask the noise.
How NIHL Occurs
NIHL accumulates over time. Usually, people don’t notice the hearing loss until much later. By that time it’s too late the save what’s been lost. Hearing aids can help slow down the loss, but they cannot restore hearing.
With NIHL, you may begin to notice a problem with your hearing if you notice tinnitus right after the noise is heard, and/or sounds that are slightly muffled. Your ears are warning you that you have hearing loss if it’s difficult to understand others when they speak. Get your hearing tested immediately in this case.
If you start to notice noise-induced hearing loss or any other form of hearing loss, it’s a good idea to create a timeline and journal about your experiences so your hearing healthcare provider can get a better idea of what you’ve gone through.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
We’ve discussed many work environments that can contribute to hearing loss from construction zones to gyms. Well, it should be no surprise that musicians, especially rock musicians, are also vulnerable to hearing loss. Lots of famous musicians have hearing loss, tinnitus, or both. Research suggests that they are four times more likely to have hearing problems than the general population.
1. The former Nirvana and current Foo Fighters band member, Dave Grohl, recently revealed that he has had hearing loss for years. He cannot hear out of his left ear and crowded restaurants are the worst spots for him to visit. Masks make things worse for him. He read lips for 20 years, and has to remind people that he is a rock musician, he’s deaf, and he cannot hear what others are saying.
2. Pete Townshend of The Who has been open about his hearing loss for many years. He pinpointed the problem to studio headphones, not from playing live music.
3. Another member of The Who, Roger Daltry, said that he is “very, very deaf”.
4. Danny Elfman, who scored Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and numerous other films, lost his hearing and developed tinnitus after playing frontman in his band Oingo Boingo.
5. Alice Cooper dons hearing aids after losing his hearing from being around loud rock music for 55 years.
6. Huey Lewis talked about how hearing loss and Menière’s disease cut his singing career short and recommended hearing aids.
7. Sting admitted that he has hearing loss, but still refused to get hearing aids.
8. Mick Fleetwood revealed that he has hearing loss, and played a “quiet” rock concert to raise awareness about hearing loss. The concert took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with 100 people in attendance. There were mixed responses. The band Eagles of Death Metal played two songs without amps. The audience listened with miniature radio receivers. Most just smiled. Later the band played three songs that were amplified through speakers, and the crowd jumped and danced around while waving their arms. The unamplified sound reached 62 decibels (dB) - which is normal - and the amplified sound reached 124 dB, which is the same noise level of a jet engine.
Fortunately, there’s more awareness about this issue today. Musicians can even wear customized earplugs that are specially designed to wear while performing at concerts.
If you are a musician, or someone who you know is a musician, with hearing loss please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
What happens during Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)?
You have most likely experienced this after leaving a concert: the noises you hear sound muffled, you notice feelings of fullness in your ears, and you might even hear tinnitus. The tiny hair cells in your ears came in contact with very powerful sound waves. This is known as temporary threshold shift (TTS). Hearing is usually recovered in these cases, and tinnitus goes away.
If you have symptoms of clogged ears or tinnitus, this could mean that your hearing is damaged. If you have recurrent episodes of TTS, permanent hearing loss could ensue.
How does the Ear become Damaged from Loud Noise?
Loud noises, whether it’s from a concert, earbuds with high volume settings, or a work environment, can seriously damage your hearing health. To better understand this, let’s go over how hearing works.
Essentially, sound travels into the ear and then stimulates the fluid located in the inner ear (A.K.A. the cochlea). The fluid produces waves across microscopic rows of hair cells. Every single hair cell is arranged in a tonotopic (tuned) manner to a particular frequency. This provides the best transmission of the sounds you hear.
There is Damage in Your Ear’s Cells
When loud sounds come in contact with your ears, the hair cells become distressed by becoming permanently bent over. This occurs even if there’s no noise. As a result, you may notice tinnitus, feelings of fullness in the ears, and temporary hearing loss.
High sound frequencies are affected when TTS occurs. This impacts the way you hear consonant sounds. In the English language, you may not be able to hear the difference between certain words, like “car” or “far”. This is an example of being able to hear, but not understand.
When it comes to TTS, your hearing threshold will recover to normal after a brief period.
Is TTS Serious?
The answer to this question isn’t clear-cut, because it’s a short-term symptom and for some people, things may seem normal for a while.
Even if the hearing loss is temporary, it’s not an excuse to regularly attend concerts, work environments, or loud recreational activities without protecting your hearing. If you experience too many instances of TTS, it may turn into a permanent threshold shift (PTS).
If you only experience TTS once, you probably won’t have permanent damage to your hearing.
Why does TTS Happen?
Overexposure to loud noises causes TTS. Concerts are a major culprit. Being near the speakers at a concert can endanger your ears to 110 decibels (dB).
It only takes over 70 dB to induce hearing loss. TTS is a type of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), but its impact is fleeting.
Other circumstances that can cause TTS are exposure to loud noises, like listening to music through earbuds/headphones, fireworks or an explosion that goes off near you, a gas-powered lawnmower, or an ambulance/police car siren.
How long can TTS Last?
TTS is a temporary symptom that can last anywhere from a couple of hours, a few days, or maybe several weeks.
The longer and more intense the exposure is, the stronger and longer-lasting the TTS could be.
Other influences could make an impact, such as an individual’s age, sex, history of noise exposure, frequented environmental settings, smoking, or diabetes.
How do You know when an Area is Too Loud?
Preventative Measures for TTS
It is unlikely that TTS will occur unexpectedly. The only cause is exposure to loud noise, so avoid these loud areas or be prepared to protect yourself.
It sounds simple but in the modern world, you may encounter many unexpected situations that could be a danger to your hearing. Loud machines or movie theaters can reach anywhere between 74 to 104 dB. You can still enjoy the movies by wearing earplugs that tune out most, but not all noises.
For earplugs that cancel out almost all noises, get earplugs that feature the highest noise reduction rating (NRR). If you are going to watch a movie in the theater, you can try earplugs that are designed for musicians.
If you are noticing hearing loss and need a hearing test, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
When you have disruptive tinnitus, the added stress from traveling can make it worse.
Traveling by air, land, or sea can aggravate symptoms of tinnitus. Whether it’s jet lag, various airplane engine sounds, airplane cabin pressure, or unhealthy food and drink options (over salty snacks, sugary drinks, or alcohol), tinnitus might be an extra thing that you need to worry about.
You can plan ahead of time and avoid the most common problems with tinnitus when traveling.
10 Tips for Traveling with Tinnitus
1. Make sure you have a plan to help you manage tinnitus symptoms.
Problems that may arise while traveling can cause stress, which can lead to distracting episodes of tinnitus. That can ruin your vacation or business trip.
Planning for these scenarios can help. Worsening tinnitus - whether it becomes louder, becomes more intense, or creates an emotional reaction - can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes tinnitus spikes can be identified easily, other times it can be too vague to pinpoint. Tinnitus spikes are some of the more problematic scenarios that just about everyone with tinnitus suffers from each day.
What are tinnitus spikes?
This occurs when the ringing sound abruptly changes or worsens.
Causes of tinnitus spikes can include:
It can feel almost impossible to fight against an emotional reaction that is caused by a very bad case of tinnitus. Your anxiety and fear can set in, making the way you usually manage symptoms ineffective.
Understand what triggers your tinnitus, and then immediately implement a coping mechanism if the symptoms arise while traveling. You can ask for help from fellow traveling companions so they can help you reduce the spikes as soon as possible.
Even though you cannot turn down the volume of the tinnitus spike, you can calm yourself down by getting as comfortable as possible. If you wear hearing aids, you can ask your hearing instrument specialist to program your devices to mask the noise. Or, you can even listen to a meditation. Sooner or later the spike will pass.
2. Reduce the impact of jet lag
Jet lag eventually goes away, but it can still create stress for a few days. Your body has a circadian rhythm, which adapts to a day to night cycle. So if travel from one time zone to another, your circadian rhythm is still following the previous time zone. This leads to temporary insomnia, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, changes in mood, stomach problems, and a general feeling of ailment. Symptoms of jet lag can worsen tinnitus, making it harder to manage.
One way to reduce the effects of jet lag is to take melatonin. This will reset your sleep/circadian rhythm. Just like with any medication or supplement, discuss using it with your doctor.
Melatonin is a hormone that discharges from the brain that signals to your body that it is nighttime and it’s time to sleep. Melatonin is available in pill form as an over-the-counter (or prescription) sleep aid in many countries, including the U.S. If you take it at your usual bedtime and then at a different time to adapt to your new time zone, it can help you sleep easier and also relieve jet lag by syncing up your circadian rhythm to the new time zone at a faster pace.
3. Pressure-equalizing earplugs can be worn during flights and drives that take place in higher elevations
Everyone who has ever been in an aircraft that ascended into the sky or drove up any mountain has noticed that a quick change in elevation can impact your ears.
The pressure levels in airplane cabins can reach from about 6,000 - 8,000 feet above sea level, and mountainous terrain can reach even higher levels. Based on the level of elevation that you start off on, this can equal a significant rapid change.
Feelings of fullness, pain, and popping in the ear are normal experiences when there’s a quick pressure change. The pressure that occurs in your middle ear cannot change as quickly as the air pressure in the environment. As a result, the eardrum winds up swelling inwards or outwards.
This doesn’t happen to everyone. If your ears are susceptible to elevation shifts, barometric pressure, or even changes in weather, it can negatively impact your tinnitus.
A solution is wearing pressure-equalizing earplugs. You can find an affordable pair that uses filters to steadily equalize the pressure. Check out EarPlanes® or Mack’s FlightGuard Aviation Earplugs.
4. Pack different types of hearing protection so you’re ready for any noisy environment
Everyone, no matter how good their hearing is, should be prepared to protect their hearing from loud noises. It’s even more important to do so if you have tinnitus. Dangerous noise levels can destroy your hearing and permanently worsen symptoms of tinnitus. Even if there isn’t permanent damage, just about everyone who has tinnitus has noticed spikes in symptoms when exposed to loud noises. If you know that your environment will be loud, remember to pack earplugs. There may be loud environments that where you were not anticipating to be in when traveling.
To avoid potential hearing loss, always have two sets of earplugs that are easily accessible when traveling: a pair of regular foam or silicone earplugs (these are helpful in very loud settings) and another pair of high-fidelity musician’s earplugs (these reduce volume levels, but you can still hear music and other people’s voices when they speak to you).
Customized earplugs that are perfectly contoured to your ears can also be made. You can talk to our hearing instrument specialists about getting them made.
5. Pack your own food and snacks
The selection that is available for food at most airports and rest stops are generally fast food or junk food that is high in salt and sugar. If your tinnitus tends to worsen after consuming salt, sugar, or caffeinated drinks, it would be best to pack foods that are healthier for you. Even if these things do not trigger your tinnitus, consuming unhealthy foods can take its toll on your body and add unnecessary stress during your trip.
You are allowed to bring your own food through airport security checkpoints. There are regulations when it comes to international travel - laws are different in each country, so you might not be able to carry on certain fruits and vegetables.
6. Shop in a local grocery store
When you make it to your destination, go to a local grocery store. They’ll have healthy options for food and drinks that are less expensive than the stash that’s available in the hotel or their minifridge.
7. Preview restaurant menus
It’s tempting to simply go to a fast-food restaurant, or picking just any restaurant if you’re really hungry. Following a low-sodium diet is going to be difficult in these places, which can add stress.
Prior to each trip, do a little research and look at restaurant menus that will cater to your diet. You can even book a reservation so you know that you’ll have a place and time set aside.
If you decide to rent a home or an Airbnb, you can simply cook your own meals and control the amount of salt and sugar that goes into your meals instead of worrying about what restaurants will serve you.
8. Give yourself some R&R
While traveling, your health habits and daily routines may go out the window. Your sleep schedule will probably be disrupted. This could create stress, and stress usually equals spikes in tinnitus. Always make time for self-care. Rest and relax when possible.
9. Keep track of your medications and hearing aids
So many things can go awry while traveling. Your bags get lost, plane delays, or a change in plans. Always keep important medications and devices with you, NOT in a checked bag or inaccessible suitcase. Make sure your hearing aids are fully charged or you have extra batteries with you. If you get stuck in a location, they’ll be easier to locate.
10. Proper sleep can go a long way
Insomnia is a common cause of tinnitus spikes. Tinnitus can make sleeping difficult, which generates a vicious cycle.
It’s not always easy to fall asleep, especially in unfamiliar places. Research indicates that the left side of your brain stays on alert during the first night, and possibly into the second night if you are in a new space.
You can prioritize and protect your sleep routines by going to bed and waking up during normal hours. Use any means necessary to make sure you get enough sleep. You might want to use a sleep mask, sound machine, earplugs, or meditate before going to sleep. You might even want to bring your own pillow if it’s easy to store during your travels.
If you have tinnitus and/or hearing loss, hearing aids could be a solution to get control of your tinnitus so that it’s more manageable. Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
The symptoms of tinnitus include the buzzing, clicking, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noises that are heard when there are no external sound sources. It can cause distress and distract you from your daily life. It’s important to seek help and monitor your hearing health before it worsens.
Nearly 15-20% of Americans have experienced tinnitus at least one time. While it can happen to anyone, it’s pervasive among adults and seniors. There is currently no definite cure for tinnitus, so taking preventative cautions is crucial.
What are the signs of tinnitus?
As previously mentioned a buzzing, clicking, ringing, roaring, or whooshing noise may only be heard by you. There are various frequencies and tones to the noise. If you notice tinnitus, write down what you are experiencing. Keep a journal to record when you started hearing these noises, in what situations/environments you notice the sounds and anything else you feel is worth noting. Bring this information with you when you talk to your hearing instrument specialist about treatment options.
Discuss the sounds you are hearing with the people around you, who can provide accurate assessments if you think you are experiencing tinnitus.
What causes tinnitus?
The main causes of tinnitus are due to underlying conditions, such as injuries to the ears or poor blood circulation. Think about possible reasons that brought about the symptoms. This will help your hearing healthcare provider give you proper treatment options.
Frequent exposure to loud noises, or even just one exposure to a very loud noise, can induce tinnitus symptoms. The tiny hair cells in the inner ear can become damaged from the sounds, which leads to false impulses that are transmitted to the brain. This is what causes tinnitus.
Aging, and the hearing health problems related to aging, can cause tinnitus. Diabetes, unhealthy blood vessels, autoimmune diseases, changes in bone growth throughout the ears, muscle spasms, ear infections or obstructions, head, neck, or ear injuries could also cause tinnitus. Like with any health condition, detecting the problem early will lead to earlier treatment, which may help reduce any serious impacts.
Tinnitus is common in men, the older population, regular smokers, and alcoholics who are regularly exposed to loud noises. Take your job environment into consideration, and wear ear protection when working under loud conditions. Any underlying health conditions such as arthritis and obesity should be carefully monitored.
What are the impacts of tinnitus?
The frequency of tinnitus is different for everyone. Most people who experience tinnitus find it to be distressing and bothersome. They may suffer from fatigue, headaches, depression, stress, an inability to focus, problems with accomplishing tasks, and disruption in their sleep routines.
What preventative measures should be taken?
Always carry around small earplugs or noise-canceling earmuffs if you are going to work in a noisy area. For example, if you are employed in an industrial workplace that has loud machinery make sure you are wearing earplugs. Your employer should also be able to provide the proper ear protection in these situations.
Avoid overconsumption of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Make sure you are exercising and following a healthy diet. This will help with your overall health, which will help your hearing health.
Listen to music and media at lower volumes. If you need to turn the volume up, to the point where others complain about the level you should seek help for your hearing.
What treatment options are available?
Hearing aids that feature a masking option may be used to treat your tinnitus and hearing loss. Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to set up an appointment for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
Two National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) publications have recommendations on the best practices in preventing hearing loss. The first is Criteria For a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise Exposure and the other is Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss – A Practical Guide.
In 1983, a hearing conservation program was required to be implemented if a worker’s noise exposure was equivalent to or greater than an 8 hour time-weighted average sound level of 85 dBA.
The NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) for job-related noise exposure (85 dBA, decibels A-weighted, as an 8-hour time-weighted average). An updated risk assessment reconfirms this level and time of exposure for 85-dBA REL.
In regards to hearing protection, NIOSH noted that the noise reduction rating (NRR), a single-number according to a laboratory-approved rating, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires to be displayed on labels of every form of hearing protection that is sold in the U.S. is insufficient. NIOSH recommends calculating the noise exposure to the person who uses hearing protection in a work environment. The NRR should be derated by subtracting from the NRR 25%, 50%, and 70% for industrial-strength earmuffs, formable earplugs, and all other styles of earplugs.
A Guide to Preventing Hearing Loss on the Job
NIOSH published Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss - A Practical Guide in 1996. Practical modifications can be made as followed:
The most successful programs for hearing loss prevention all feature the following eight elements:
Learn about accommodations that can be made by your employer, so that you and your company get the most out of your workspace.
If you are noticing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation from one of our hearing aid providers.
Whether you are listening to nature sounds, the noise of laughter after a funny joke, or becoming aware of a warning signal from an emergency, hearing is a fundamental part of life.
Think about the ways that hearing, or the lack of hearing, impacts your life.
1. Be Aware of Initial Signs of Hearing Loss
The World Health Organization reports that over 466 million people have a disabling form of hearing loss. It is crucial to be aware of the first signs of hearing loss so that you can immediately seek help. Immediately getting help from a healthcare provider can potentially save your hearing. If you notice muffled sounds when others speak, trouble hearing over the phone or in a crowded area, struggle hearing women’s or children’s voices, or other family members or colleagues notice you can’t hear very well, get a hearing test.
2. Reduce Exposure to Noise
The only preventable form of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), yet it is the most prevalent form of hearing in children and adults. Make sure you wear hearing protection before being exposed to things like loud music, fireworks, or power tools. If possible, avoid these areas altogether or limit the amount of time you spend there.
Be aware that your work environment may also cause hearing loss. Your employer is responsible for providing any hearing protection - such as earplugs or industrial style ear muffs - that you may need as a result of being exposed to loud noises on the job.
3. Do Not stick anything inside Your Ear Canal
Many people have the habit of using cotton swabs in their ear canal. It’s a dangerous habit that can injure your ears.
Inserting anything into your ear canal, like cotton swabs, actually pushes the earwax deeper into your ear canal. This can cause impacted earwax. If you must remove excess earwax, wipe it off of your ears with a warm soft cloth after your shower or bath. You may also soften the wax using ear drops, warm olive oil, water, or a commercial solution. It is not advised to use any of these if you have a perforated eardrum. If you are noticing any pain, hearing loss, or blockage, please contact us for an evaluation.
4. To Hear Healthy, Eat Healthy
A proper diet and exercise are not only beneficial to hearing health, but also to your overall health.
Fruits, vegetables, and legumes should be incorporated into a well-balanced diet. To help with the steady flow of inner ear fluid, eat potassium-rich foods like bananas. Consume other foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as folate, magnesium, and zinc.
Take a look at these articles for more advice on what to eat to improve your hearing:
Which Vitamins and Minerals May Help Stop Hearing Loss?
What Seasonal Autumn Foods can Improve Your Hearing Health?
5. Get Your Hearing Tested on a Regular Basis
Just like your other annual health check-ups, hearing health should be tested every year. Getting regular check-ups on your hearing can help catch any potential issues that you may have. Noticing problems early can help avert more serious situations in the future.
Get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer a number of hearing aids that can be programmed and tailored for your specific listening needs.
Think about the sound of birds chirping, the siren alarms from an emergency vehicle, listening to a funny joke (and hopefully the laughter that follows), or your favorite music.
These are the sounds that make us aware of our surroundings and allow us to enjoy simple pleasures in life.
The ability to hear is important. Here are five tips for better hearing.
1. Recognize the signs. According to the World Health Organization, over 466 million children and adults across the globe have a debilitating form of hearing impairment. Nearly every type of hearing loss can be treated. First, it’s important to recognize the signs. Do you hear muffled sounds when others speak? Do you have trouble hearing someone over the phone or if you’re in a crowded area and someone is standing/sitting within arms-length of you? Is it difficult to hear women or children’s voices? Do family members complain that your TV, movie, or music is too loud?
Family members will usually recognize hearing loss in their loved ones first.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
2. Reduce your exposure to noise. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable form of hearing loss. It impacts people of all ages, and it’s on the rise as one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Whether you are at a concert, watching fireworks, using power tools/vacuum cleaners, or working in a construction zone, limit your time in those loud environments when possible and wear proper hearing protection.
3. Do not use cotton swabs. It’s common to insert cotton swabs into your ear, but it is dangerous. Pushing the swab too far can damage your eardrum. If you are using them to clean, here’s news for you: the swabs are actually pushing earwax (cerumen) further into your ear canal, which can cause the earwax to become impacted. Remove excess cerumen by rubbing a soft, warm cloth on your ears after showering or soften the wax with drops of warm olive oil, water, or over-the-counter ear drops. These should only be used if you don’t have a perforated eardrum.
4. Follow a healthy diet with regular exercise. A proper diet is not only beneficial for your hearing, but also for your overall health. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like folate, magnesium, and zinc should be incorporated into your diet.
5. Get your hearing tested annually. Hearing tests are rarely conducted during routine physical exams with your primary care doctor. Other pressing matters tend to take up more time during your appointment. If your hearing health is an urgent concern, you may be referred to a hearing healthcare professional.
At Pure Sound Hearing, we offer free hearing tests and consultations. Contact us today.
There are no medications or surgeries that can treat noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Once the tiny hair cells on your ears are damaged, they do not grow back. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when possible.
If you currently experience hearing loss, here are some precautions you should take to prevent the loss from worsening:
6 Tips to Navigate Life with Hearing Loss
Use an External Device to Help you Hear
If you currently experience hearing loss, hearing devices can work with the hearing that you still have.
Hearing aids amplify sounds while reducing distracting background noises. Programming the hearing aids and adding different channels can help you hear in different environments while honing in on sounds that are picked up through the hearing aids’ directional microphone.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALD)
An assistive listening device can help someone with hearing loss hear better while on the phone with telephone amplifiers. An alarm clock or a fire alarm that flashes or vibrates can alert you. Loop, FM, and infrared systems can send sounds to some earphones and hearing aids. These can help you hear TV broadcasts, movies, theater shows, and announcements in other public areas.
If you, or a loved one, are noticing hearing loss and need guidance for treatment options, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
We are continuing our coverage on diabetes and hearing loss.
Your levels of blood sugar, whether they are too high or too low, can harm your hearing health. Here is some advice on how to help prevent hearing loss if you are a diabetic.
There are many causes for hearing loss, such as natural aging or over-exposure to loud noises. Diabetes is another potential factor in hearing loss. Monitoring and controlling your blood sugar levels is a crucial part of taking care of your diabetes. This can also help preserve your hearing.
Diabetes and Hearing Loss
Nerve damage can occur due to diabetes. This can affect your entire body from your feet to your ears.
As time progresses, small blood vessels and nerves found in the inner ear can deteriorate from high levels of glucose that enter your blood. If you have low blood sugar, it can negatively impact how nerve signals are transferred from your inner ear to your brain. Hearing loss can occur as a result of both of these types of nerve damage.
Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss than people of the same age group who do not have diabetes. People who have prediabetes (blood sugar levels that are higher than average, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes) are 30% more likely to experience hearing loss than individuals with normal blood sugar levels.
How do I know if I Have Hearing Loss?
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss happens gradually over time. It may be undetected by the person affected. Friends, family, and colleagues usually notice your hearing loss before you do.
Protect Your Hearing by Protecting Your Ears
Hearing loss cannot be cured, but here’s a guide on how you can protect your hearing health:
Hearing loss can negatively affect your relationships and interactions with family, friends, colleagues, healthcare providers, and other professionals. Hearing health is just one out of several reasons why taking care of your blood sugar levels needs to be a priority. You can also feel better and have more energy by doing it!
If you or a loved one notice hearing loss for any reason, please get in touch with one of our hearing instrument specialists who will help you towards a journey of better hearing and overall health.
It should be no surprise that whether you are listening to music or media, a long length of time spent listening plus a high volume level can eventually lead to hearing loss.
This can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time.
Across the globe, children, teens, and young adults spend time listening to music for several hours each day. The volumes often surpass the recommended limits for each person. Awareness of this issue, and actions taken against it, is the best way to practice self-care.
The previous threshold for listening was 85 decibels (dB), but that has currently been lowered to 70 dB by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 50 percent of people between the ages of 12 to 35 are susceptible to hearing loss after long and disproportionate exposure to powerful sounds from music playing through earbuds or headphones.
It’s important to remind readers that serious levels of hearing loss are not signs of normal aging. It’s a result of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
It’s similar to how many falsely believe that large wrinkles and dark spots of skin are signs of normal aging. They are the result of harmful exposure to solar and UV rays.
Important Hearing Statistics
Anyone who frequently uses a personal listening device, along with earbuds or headphones, is damaging their hearing health.
The younger population tends to have listening devices that come with earbuds or headphones. While others can’t hear their chosen media, they are doing serious harm to their hearing.
Many of these young people will begin to notice difficulty with their hearing by the time they reach their mid-40s. They will struggle with hearing just as much as their grandparents, who are at least in their 70s.
Hearing loss not only impacts your ability to hear and communicate but as frequently mentioned in this blog, cognitive decline and risks of dementia become more serious.
In a study from 2011, people with hearing loss had a higher chance of having dementia symptoms if:
Research indicates that anyone who does not receive treatment for their hearing loss promptly is at higher risk of dementia.
There have been studies that showed hearing loss that was treated with hearing aids reduced risks of cognitive decline and dementia.
Even though this information is important, the key to healthy hearing is preventative care. General health habits like diet and exercise help your overall health, which can impact your hearing health.
Follow Healthy Limits to Noise
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss from noise can occur instantly or gradually over time.
Some people live in bustling cities or work in loud environments, causing recurring exposure to unsafe levels of noise which could impact long-term health.
Here are tips on how to keep your hearing health safe:
Hearing health in children and teens is particularly important. Their bodies are still developing. They need to hear to learn and acquire social skills. Hearing loss impedes that process for social development and education, which can negatively impact work performance and income.
Sound Level Meter App
You may use a free or inexpensive sound level meter app to measure noise levels in any environment and determine whether you should leave the area for a quieter space.
Detect Warning Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to know what the warning signs of hearing loss are so that you can immediately seek help. Oftentimes, it’s family members, friends, or co-workers who notice your hearing loss before you do. Here are some common signs:
This rounds up our work of raising awareness for Protect Your Hearing Month.
If you are noticing hearing loss, or if you haven’t had your hearing checked in a long time, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aids and some assistive listening devices for a wide range of hearing loss.
This blog has covered various causes of hearing loss. There’s noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), presbycusis, hearing loss that is caused by illness, infection, or may be present at birth. While playing sports is a great form of exercise and helps build teamwork skills, it may also lead to a higher risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. Athletes are more prone to injuries and tend to be exposed to excessive noises.
Hearing Loss in relation to Sports Injuries
Hearing injuries while engaging in sports on the field are one of the highest risks to an athlete. Damage to the ear or auditory system of the brain can be caused by a head or neck injury, which may lead to permanent hearing loss. In contact sports, like football, the injuries in athletes are more frequent. The majority of football players have experienced at least one concussion throughout their professional career. A number of them have had multiple head injuries, and endured damage to the inner ear or ear canal.
These head injuries do not only affect cells in the inner ear, but they could also cause harm to the bones in the middle ear, or obstruct the ear canal. This creates challenges for sounds to reach the inner ear. Concussions and head injuries may also induce symptoms of tinnitus.
The obvious loud noises that are associated with sports stadiums can also cause hearing loss. Athletes and fans express excitement over scores during live games. In addition to the music that plays during the games or at halftime shows, fans will cheer, shout, and stomp their feet. This can be overwhelming for the ears and cause hearing loss for athletes and fans.
Hearing loss usually goes unnoticed at first, so there’s a risk for athletes who participate in games where the noise is intense.
If You’re an Athlete, Protect Your Hearing
It’s important for athletes to wear hearing protection, when they are in high risk situations. It’s also important for them to avoid injuries while playing on the field. Wear earplugs that are customized for your ears, so that they don’t fall out while engaging in sports.
If You’re a Sports Fan, Protect Your Hearing
If you’ve been to live gaming events, there’s a chance that you have been exposed to harmful levels of noise. If you have left an arena and notice everything sounds muffled or hear a buzzing/ringing sound, that indicates the environment was too loud and there may be damage to your hearing.
Protect your hearing when you go to sports games, and encourage friends and family to do the same. You can easily purchase earplugs made from foam, plastic, or wax. You can tell if your environment is too loud if you find yourself shouting in order to communicate with someone who is sitting or standing right next to you.
Get Your Hearing Tested
There’s a higher risk of hearing loss among athletes, so regular hearing screenings and hearing tests need to be administered during their healthcare check-ups. Sports fans who regularly attend live sporting events, or even watch them on loud TVs, should also be conscious of their hearing health.
Start by getting a baseline hearing test. This will show you your specific hearing range. When you go to follow-up appointments, you can use the baseline hearing test results and compare them with your latest hearing test results. Getting treatment for your hearing loss can help you keep the hearing abilities you still have while slowing down further loss. It will also be easier to adjust to your hearing aid or assistive listening devices, to improve your overall hearing and health.
Contact us at Pure Sound Hearing if you are experiencing hearing loss. Our providers will patiently work with you to find the best solutions.
The ripple effect of hearing loss on your life and the life of your loved ones is serious, which is why it’s important to be aware of potential ways that you can lose your hearing.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
The only avoidable type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Being in a loud environment, like a concert or a noisy workplace, could pose a danger to your hearing health.
It’s important to practice preventative measures because once you lose your hearing, you cannot get it back.
Ears have tiny hair cells that help you hear. Once the hair cells are damaged, they cannot be reconstructed and hearing cannot be restored. This is why it’s so important to start protecting your ears at a young age. If you already have difficulty with hearing, it's still important to take precautions in order to slow down or prevent worsening symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus.
3 Hearing Loss Facts
Decibels: A Unit of Noise Measurement
Noise is measured in decibels (dB). Listening to sounds that are 85 dB or higher can eventually lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. Consider this “equation”:
volume level + length of time spent listening = risk of damage to your hearing health
Examples of Sounds and their Decibel Levels
Whispering - 30 dB (Safe noise level)
A humming refrigerator - 40 dB (Safe noise level)
Dishwasher - 45 to 65 dB (Safe noise level)
A conversation (with your normal speaking voice at arm’s length) - 65 to 80 dB. This is considered a safe noise level, but if you need to yell at someone during your conversation who is at arm’s length, the background noise is probably too loud.
Lawnmower - 80 to 100 dB. You may lose some of your hearing, so wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.
A movie playing in the theater - 70 to 104 dB. Protect your ears by sitting far away from the speakers, and wear earplugs.
Motorcycles - 80 to 110 dB. Riding or being around a motorcycle after an hour can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs and then put on a helmet before you start your ride.
Sports events - 94 to 110 dB. Hearing loss can occur in less than half an hour at a sports game. A combination of a cheering and/or stomping crowd, and blaring music can lead to hearing loss. Wear earplugs.
Headphones - 96 to 110 dB. If you listen to music through headphones at the highest volume, you could lose some of your hearing within a few minutes. Protect your hearing by lowering the volume.
Rock concerts, parties, or nightclubs - 95 to 115 dB. Hearing loss can occur within a few minutes, so it’s important to wear earplugs. The band wears them as they play. Don’t stand near the speakers.
Sirens - 110 to 129 dB. The sirens from an ambulance, police car, or fire truck can cause some hearing loss in under a minute. When you see one of these vehicles approaching, get away from the noise, if it’s possible (you can close your car windows.) If you are outdoors, simply plug your fingers in your ears until after they pass by.
Fireworks - 140 to 160 dB. Fireworks are fun to watch, but they can harm your hearing. If a firecracker explodes close to your ear, you can completely lose your hearing. Protect your ears by wearing earplugs or earmuffs, and watch from a safe distance.
Hearing Loss Warning Signs
Warning signs, such as pain or ringing in the ears, don’t occur until there is hearing damage. If you notice that loud noises aren’t as aggravating as they used to be, this indicates that you have lost some of your hearing.
You can figure out whether your environment is dangerous to your hearing if you need to yell at someone who is standing just a couple of feet away, in order to communicate with them. This means you should put your earplugs in, or go to a quieter space.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.
It’s important to protect your hearing health. Poor hearing can negatively impact your daily life, interactions with other people, your job, your income, and your overall health. This is why it is crucial to learn the difference between earplugs and earmuffs. Both of them can protect your ears, but they help in very different ways. It all comes down to your personal preferences. Before selecting hearing protection, do some research.
Protection for Your Hearing
Hearing protection can help preserve your hearing health and the health of your ears. They are meant to be worn either in or around your ears when you are in an environment with noise levels that exceed the average human’s hearing threshold of 80-85 decibels.
Devices used for hearing protection are made to decrease the risks of noise-induced hearing loss, which can be annoying and in some instances irreversible. Equipment used for hearing protection can help shield your ears from noise-related syndromes such as overall discomfort, hypertension, stress, and tinnitus. There are two primary types of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Let’s learn about their differences and similarities.
Earplugs will provide the most protection for those who wear them. Generally, they are small, shaped like a tube, and can be inserted in your ear canal. There are disposable and reusable versions. You may select foam earplugs, custom molded or preformed earplugs, musician earplugs, electronic earplugs, or non-linear acoustic earplugs that are filtered.
Earplugs are easy to take with you when you’re on the go, because they are small and lightweight. They are more affordable than earmuffs, and disposable earplugs are even less expensive than reusable ones. Earplugs are comfortable to wear, especially if you have to work in a hot, humid environment or an area that has confined space.
The downside of earplugs (both reusable and disposable) is that it takes extra time to place them in your ears correctly. They need to be properly placed in your ears in order for them to function at an optimal level. It is recommended that you place the earplugs in your ear’s canal, then use your fingers to dig them in and out of the canal until they feel comfortably fitted.
Good hygiene is important while touching your earplugs. Your hands should be clean whenever you handle your earplugs, otherwise, they can become infected or irritated with dirt and bacteria. Keep your earplugs in a case or purchase a pair with cords attached, so that you don’t misplace them.
Earmuffs have a basic design that is intended to block out noise. It looks like a headband that features ear cups on each end. The ear cups are donned on the outer part of the ear while utilizing the headband’s clenching force to ensure that it fits comfortably on the head as it obstructs loud sounds. You may select the standard earmuffs, click-onto helmet earmuffs, active electronic earmuffs, or active noise reduction earmuffs.
Earmuffs are easier to wear and remove than earplugs. They are usually worn in environments with an irregularity of noise. They are also designed to fit most head shapes. No matter what size your head is, you can find earmuffs that will fit. It’s easier to find and keep track of where your earmuffs are since they are larger than earplugs.
The less convenient aspects of earmuffs are that they are heavier and not easily portable. Due to their size and difficulty to travel with, earmuffs can also be a hassle to wear along with your current personal protective equipment (PPE). Earmuffs also tend to be uncomfortable to wear in warmer weather.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation with one of our hearing instrument specialists. We offer hearing aid solutions, assistive listening devices, and hearing protection for your individual needs.
Did you know that you can experience noise-induced hearing loss, without even knowing it?
Our environments are getting louder and louder every year. Whether it’s due to traffic noises, machinery that’s used on the job, or attending a concert. Taking the proper precautions to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is not only easy to do once you know how, but you can protect yourself from future health problems that are linked to hearing loss.
As mentioned on this blog, there is a different segment of the population that is experiencing NIHL: Millennials. This generation is constantly using their smartphone to listen to music and podcasts, watch videos, and stream Netflix. And they are listening at dangerous volume levels.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NIHL is considered a global public health emergency. One in every 5 teens between the ages of 12-19, has quantitative hearing loss due to loud noise exposure. Currently, those who are at risk of NIHL are significantly high. The WHO estimates about 1.1 billion young people around the world experience NIHL. It’s important to raise awareness about this issue because NIHL is the only type of preventable hearing loss. Other forms of hearing loss can be present at birth, caused by different diseases, or can be the result of taking certain medications.
The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
As frequently mentioned in this blog, hearing loss that goes untreated can harm the heart and brain; lead to mental health problems such as depression, disrupt sleep patterns, and cause cognitive decline.
These things can affect your school and work performance, which can negatively impact your income. Don’t put your life or future at risk, especially when there are preventative measures that you can take.
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time in their life. A one-time exposure to very loud noise - or even exposure to loud noises over a long period of time. Be aware of the noise levels in your environment, and protect yourself with earplugs, earmuffs, or by simply moving away from the source of the noise.
Damage to your auditory system can build up over time. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the higher risk you are at permanently damaging your hearing.
There are ways to protect yourself.
Keep the Volume Low
Previously, dangerous noise levels were considered to start at 85 dB. But recently that’s changed to anything over 70 dB (normal conversational tone). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), considers any sounds that are at 70 dB or lower to be safe.
Turn the volume down on your smartphone, record player, mP3 player, or whatever you prefer listening to your entertainment on. Sounds that reach 100 dB or more, can lead to permanent hearing loss in 15 minutes. You can change your settings to make your devices only reach 70 dB at the maximum level. Others even recommend listening at 50 percent of the overall volume range. It would be best to start out at the lowest setting, and gradually raise the volume to a comfortable setting.
Take breaks in between listening to rest your ears. These breaks can just be for a few minutes every hour. Stay as far away from speakers as possible, when attending a concert.
If there’s a noise you cannot control, simply walk away. If that’s not possible, use earplugs to block out noise. This includes using them in mundane settings like in a kitchen with a very loud oven timer, at a restaurant, in bars, at the subway, or when working out in a gym.
Try out some different earplugs, and test them out until you find a pair that you like and work for you.
Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s the best way to prevent possible hearing loss.
If you or a loved one are in need of hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. If you don’t have a way to protect your hearing, stop by one of our offices and get a pair of earplugs.
How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night because of a noise that roused you from your slumber?
Even though this poorly affects your health, the World Health Organization found that the primary danger that noise pollution can do to people’s health around the globe comes from noise that we don’t notice while we’re in a deep sleep. In other words, noise does not have to wake you to harm your sleep.
Hearing loss could actually be connected to disrupted sleep, which makes people with hearing loss more susceptible. Researchers do not currently know how noises at night impact people with hearing loss.
Disruptive Noises, Sleep, and Health
If your sleep is constantly being interrupted - or you only get a few hours of sleep - this can increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Anyone who hears traffic noises at night is more prone to experience heart disease and take medication to aid with sleep. This will not effectively improve their quality of sleep.
When you are asleep, you go through two types of light sleep (stage 1 and 2), deep slow-wave sleep (stage 3), and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. In stage 3, the muscles begin to relax, as do the rate of your pulse and breathing. This stage has an important role in your immune system. Your dreams occur during stage 4, which is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
Noise appears to prolong stage 1 sleep and decreases both stage 3 and 4 sleep. Signals in your body may be set off, the way adrenaline and cortisol are triggered. As a result, you may notice a faster heart rate and your blood pressure might rise. All of these things can happen in your body while you are unconscious. Your body is essentially protecting you as you rest.
Early primates needed to be ready for danger during the night, but this normally doesn’t apply to us in modern times. It’s an unnecessary alarm. The noise does not even need to be very loud to poorly affect a person. There was a study on hospital equipment that made approximately 40 decibels (dB) of noise. There were quantitative impacts on electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements of brain activity during sleep in healthy adult test subjects. They essentially compared the health impacts of noise on a person to secondhand smoking.
Does having Hearing Loss Reduce the Risk of Poor Sleep?
The answer is, no.
According to Evidence for an Association Between Hearing Impairment and Disrupted Sleep: Scoping Review hearing loss is associated with insomnia and other interruptions during sleep. It is still unknown how noises that occur at night impact hearing loss. Nathan Clarke, a researcher on hearing loss from the University of Nottingham, explained how evolution shows us that individuals with hearing loss may need to exert more energy to process noises in the night that may indicate potential danger. As of now, there is little evidence to back up this claim.
Tinnitus can worsen your sleep. A study on approximately 300 Israeli workers, who were exposed to industrial noise, showed that those who had symptoms of tinnitus had the most trouble with sleep. The hearing loss was connected to insomnia, no matter what age they were or how long they had been exposed to the noise.
In a different study, individuals with tinnitus and hearing loss had a significant improvement in their sleep after receiving hearing aids, but this was not the case for those who only had hearing loss.
In a study of about 7,000 Japanese volunteers, people who have hearing loss are more inclined to sleep for over eight hours. It is uncertain as to what this indicates about being susceptible to disturbance.
Getting Help and Useful Equipment
If you usually wake up tired from your slumber, you should consider getting checked for sleep apnea. People who experience sleep apnea struggle to breathe during sleep and have short, unconscious moments of waking up. Sleep apnea can be partly responsible for hearing loss. In one study, it was discovered that the more frequently you were interrupted due to sleep apnea, the worse your hearing was. This included high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss, even if you don’t snore. Another small study showed that bed partners of people who snore had a greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.
If you’re a city dweller, you are probably used to the bustling sounds in the streets. All traffic that occurs throughout the day and into the night can put your hearing health at risk. Whether the noises come from nearby airports, sports arenas, highways, or construction zones, neighborhoods in the city produce a lot of noise pollution that impacts a vast amount of people.
The Noisiest Neighborhoods
Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago are some of the loudest cities in the U.S. Residents are exposed to at least 80 decibels (dB) of noise from transportation per day! There are even heavily traversed areas that emit more than 90 dB. You should wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing in those areas, especially if these are places you travel through daily.
You can look at this map to get a better picture of what we’re talking about.
Is there a Negative Impact on Property Value for Noisy Neighborhoods?
It’s difficult to avoid loud areas, especially in a big city or suburban area with highways or an airport nearby. It’s important to spread awareness about potential hearing loss, so that others may take preventative measures. Realtor.com has reflected on noise levels vs. property value. They have indicated that more people prefer quieter environments, so the prices of homes will reflect that.
Noise in the Workplace
Exposure to dangerous noise levels while on the job should concern you. If you do not currently protect your hearing health, you should talk to your manager about being provided with earplugs or industrial ear muffs. Check the noise levels in your work environment by using a decibel meter app. Anything over 85 dBs is considered to be a dangerous level of noise exposure.
Talk to family, coworkers, and friends about their exposure to noise in heavy traffic, construction, and concerts while working with power tools, operating heavy machinery, using common electric appliances around the home, etc. All of these interactions could lead to hearing loss. To be safe, always carry around a pair of foam earplugs with you. They can easily be stored in your pocket or handbag. Get your hearing tested at least once a year.
How Would You Know If You Had Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss happens very slowly over time. Most people won’t catch it early. This is especially true if you are constantly exposed to loud noises, whether it’s in a workplace environment or if you live in a bustling city. If you find yourself turning up the volume on your devices, moving closer to people to hear them better, asking others to speak up, or it's challenging to hear others in noisy environments, you might have hearing loss.
If you need a hearing test, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Lititz, Elizabethtown, Mt. Joy, or Strasburg.
It’s summertime, which for many means it’s time for a swim! Children who have problems with their ears would normally be recommended with wearing earplugs. Does your child need them? Which ones work the best?
Determining whether Your Child needs Earplugs
The ears are prone to getting water stuck inside the canals, so it’s important to wear earplugs:
Other children may be advised to regularly use earplugs while diving or swimming in untreated water, like lakes, rivers, and oceans. Wearing plugs can help prevent bacteria from going into the ear canals.
Should Earplugs be Worn in Chlorinated Water?
Generally, earplugs are unnecessary for most children when going into treated water, like a public swimming pool. Although, there is one exception. If you have a child, or grandchild, who wears tubes in their ears and prefers swimming in the deep end, they should wear earplugs. When diving and swimming in deeper water, the pressure intensifies in your ears and water could seep into them.
If you, or any children in your family, are on a swim team and often get water stuck in the ears, it’s always a good idea to wear earplugs for preventative measures.
If a child wears ear tubes, earplugs should also be worn whenever the ears become submerged in soapy water during baths. Soap acts as a lubricant, which lessens surface tension and allows water to enter the tubes.
Is it Safe to Swim when You have an Ear Infection?
Swimming underwater can lead to pressure changes that cause pain for any child with an ear infection. If an ear infection with a ruptured eardrum (A.K.A. ruptured acute otitis media) occurs, DO NOT swim or submerge yourself underwater until the infection goes away.
Swim Earplug Styles
You can choose between two styles of earplugs: custom-fit plugs and one-size-fits-all swim plugs. They are both capable of keeping your ears dry, but based on your personal preferences there are advantages and disadvantages. A hearing healthcare provider can help you get the right kind for you and your child.
Customized Earplugs for Swimming
A custom-fit earplug used for swimming would need to be ordered through a hearing instrument specialist. The great things about these customized earplugs are the excellent comfort, quality, and durability compared to cheap drugstore earplugs. You can wash and reuse them, which is more hygienic, cuts down on waste, and saves you money.
These earplugs are a little pricier. They are sometimes easy to misplace and cost more to replace as opposed to a pair from your local drugstore. You may wear a swim ear band to help prevent them from falling out and losing them.
Plugs that are One-Size-Fits All
There is the option of purchasing a one-size-fits-all earplug that can be purchased from any drugstore, online, and even at a local hearing aid business like Pure Sound Hearing. These can be made from foam, silicon, or putty material. It’s convenient to find them and cheaper than a custom swim earplug. If you lose them, it’s easy and less costly to replace. A custom fitting is unnecessary for these plugs, and they are available in bright colors so that they are easy to find in just about any environment. Kids can put them in on their own.
These earplugs are generally not washable, which makes them unhygienic. They tend to get disposed of after one or two uses, due to debris and earwax buildup. If you use swimming earplugs that are made out of putty, there’s a chance that small pieces of putty could get stuck to your ears after removing the earplugs. One-size-fits-all silicone plugs are washable, so you can feel safer about preventing ear infections.
If you, or a loved one, need hearing aids or other hearing care solutions, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for guidance towards better and safer hearing.
It’s time to look forward to sunny weather and summer holiday gatherings! And with these get-togethers, you’ll want to make sure you can still enjoy conversations by hearing your best. Here are some tips on how to protect your hearing health and, if you are a hearing aid user, get the most out of your hearing aids.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one in three Americans between 20 to 69 years old, experience noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
NIHL is the only preventable type of hearing loss, so you should always carry a pair of foam earplugs with you.
Inserting the earplugs into your ears, while being in loud environments - such as watching a fireworks display or going to a sporting event - can reduce the noises and the chance of permanent damage to your ears.
Be aware of Swimmer’s Ear
This condition can be painful and may cause temporary hearing loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that you should:
Hearing Aid Users
If you are a hearing aid user, be aware that you will probably come in contact with more humidity and moisture caused by sweat and hotter temperatures this summer. As with any electronic device, water can damage your hearing aids.
This is why it’s so important to keep your hearing aids dry. You may get a hearing aid dehumidifier, which has desiccant and place the devices inside to extract moisture due to condensation, humidity, or sweat.
If you or a loved one are a Lancaster County resident who experiences hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.
Have your ears ever felt like they were blocked up with water after taking a swim? It’s a frustrating feeling when you still feel the obstruction for the following days. This symptom is caused by a bacterial infection known as acute otitis externa A.K.A. swimmer’s ear. Generally speaking, it’s harmless, but you should still get it checked out by a hearing healthcare provider. If it goes untreated, it could affect your ability to hear.
How Swimmer’s Ear Affects Your Hearing
Swimmer’s ear can occur after being in any body of water, although it typically develops after spending time in hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and rivers. Due to the greater amounts of bacteria that are found in these areas, water that becomes trapped inside the ear is more likely to lead to painful infections on the skin. Your inner ear is the ideal place for bacteria or fungi to grow and thrive. Skin irritations caused by some hair products can worsen the condition when there is an infection.
If this condition spreads throughout the body, it can cause harm to other areas, not just your ears. Most people who have swimmer’s ear also experienced pressure and pain in their ear, along with redness in their skin, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and pus or fluid drainage. Under more serious instances, temporary or permanent hearing loss could occur when sensitive organs located in the inner ear are compromised and the infection begins to develop in the brain and base of the skull.
Your inner ear has tiny hair cells, which are called cilia. These hair cells collect the quality of sounds. The hearing nerve cells are delicate and cannot regrow. When infection damages the cilia, it causes some permanent hearing loss - depending on how many of the hair cells are destroyed.
When Should You Get Treatment?
If you have any concerns about your ears or hearing, please consult a hearing care professional as soon as possible. Early treatment can help to slow down and prevent further damage.
Here are some ways to know if your inner ear is infected due to trapped water:
It’s advised that you do not swim, fly in an airplane or drive up to elevated areas like the mountains, to prevent the chances of your ears popping. Your ears will need time to heal. If you get proper treatment, the symptoms of swimmer’s ear should go away in 14 days or less.
Preventing Swimmer’s Ear
Here’s what you can do to make sure your ears are safe when you swim:
Use earplugs or custom-molded ear protection to prevent water from penetrating your ear canal.
Before dipping into a pool, the water should be chlorinated or filtered to avoid high levels of bacteria. If you are going to be in a natural body of water, do not go to stagnant locations and find out whether the water’s sanitation levels are available for the public to view before heading out there.
After your swim, you should try to remove excess water from your ears in your own home. The safest method is to lay your head on its side, move your jaw around by chewing or yawning to pop your ears and release the pressure, you may also try to place a warm compress on your ear, or place your ear over a bowl of warm steaming water. Do not use a hairdryer or hand dryer to make the water evaporate. The loud noises from those appliances could worsen your hearing.
If you or a loved one have been experiencing sudden hearing loss after being in the water, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.