Every day, we experience noise in our environment, such as the noise from the television, portable listening devices, household appliances, and traffic. If these sounds are at a safe level, they don’t damage our hearing. But sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief time, or when they are both loud and long-lasting. These sounds can damage sensitive structures in the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
NIHL can be immediate, or it can take a long time to be noticeable. It can be temporary or permanent, and it can affect one ear or both ears. Even if you can’t tell that you are damaging your hearing, you could have trouble hearing in the future, such as not being able to understand other people when they talk, especially on the phone or in a noisy room. Regardless of how it might affect you, one thing is certain: noise-induced hearing loss is something you can prevent.
It’s a good idea to protect your hearing before you incur a hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud sounds. But did you know that if you have a hearing loss, it’s not too late to take steps to save the hearing you have left?
Tips to Avoid Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
- Understand the sound levels of the noises in your environment. Many people don’t realize how loud everyday sounds can be. Vacuum cleaners, blenders, and hair dryers are just a few examples of everyday sounds that can cause hearing loss.
- Learn about proper hearing protection. There are many kinds on the market today, ranging from custom earmolds to foam plugs and more.
- If you can’t eliminate a noise, then try to get some distance between you and the noise. If that’s not possible, stand at an angle from the noise, not directly in front of it.
- Take frequent breaks when you are exposed to noise. Give your ears time to recover.
- When listening to music through headphones or earbuds, keep the volume low-to-medium. If you can “feel” the music, the volume is too high.
- Take special care to protect the ears of children who are too young to protect their own.
We take our hearing for granted. And just like everything else we take for granted, we don’t realize how important it is until it’s gone. Our purpose is to provide better hearing, but we also think it’s just as essential to provide you with information that can help you to avoid needing to see us at all!