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.