What You Should Know
- A modern life filled with electronics, gadgets, appliances and machines may be ruining your ears.
- There is a frightening trend of hearing loss in young people under 18. Many use earbuds to listen to their iPods, MP3 players, cell phones, video games, computers and TVs.
- Loud noises can destroy tiny hair cells in your inner ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss. These tiny hair cells are important because they signal the auditory nerve to send sound messages to your brain.
- When you first lose the tiny hair cells in your ears, you may have a hard time hearing high pitches and people with high voices. If your problem becomes more severe, you may not be able to hear or understand normal speech. Many people with hearing loss think people are mumbling. They may turn up the TV so loud that it bothers others.
- Experts estimate that nearly one in 10 people in the U.S. has some hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of the most common hidden disabilities. People often wait as long as seven years before doing something about their hearing loss.
- Many people do not realize they have lost hearing until they have ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Tinnitus can be made worse by alcohol, certain drugs, aspirin, caffeine, and nicotine.
- The louder the noise, the shorter the time it takes to damage ears. Also, a constant loud noise can cause damage in a short time. Any noise that is measured at 80 decibels or more could be a hazard.
- Hearing loss is a common on-the-job injury. Workers in churches, theaters, restaurants and concert halls may be exposed to loud music and audiences. Factories and distribution centers often have loud machines used in making or moving items. Landscapers use power mowers and blowers. Medical workers and fire department staff may be exposed to loud sirens. Noise from aircraft, traffic, and other vehicles can also be daily problems.
What You Should Do
- Protect your ears from constant loud noises. If a place is so loud that you can’t hear talking in a normal voice, leave, or wear ear protection.
- Beware at parties and on dance floors. Move at least 10 feet away from loud speakers.
- Protect children and teens. Be a role model. Turn down the volume. If they are using earphones and you can hear the noise, the volume is too high.
- If you do yard work, consider using a push mower instead of a power mower (about 90 decibels).
- Don’t be embarrassed to ask someone to turn down the volume.
- Wear earplugs that fit well to protect your ears at work or in noisy places. People who must work around loud noises may want to get an audiologist to make custom earplugs that fit perfectly in their ears.
- Keep earplugs handy in your car or purse for the entire family. You might need them at a movie or restaurant.
- For electronic gadgets, avoid putting the volume higher than 60 percent of the maximum level. Avoid listening to personal devices like iPods and MP3 players for more than 60 minutes. The Apple iPod now offers free Volume Limit software.
If you suspect you have a noise-induced hearing loss, call us at Advanced Hearing Care. We can help! We can determine the cause and fit you with the right hearing aid technology. For hearing protection, we provide comfortable custom-fit ear molds for anybody who is exposed to loud noise at their job or around the house.