PREVENTING
HEARING LOSS

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The HARM OF NOISE

Every day in our environment we experience sound, whether it’s pleasant, like music, or bothersome, like sirens. Unpleasant or unwanted noisy environments can be dreadful; not only can noise increase our stress level and inhibit us from carrying out daily tasks, but also in the long run overexposure to noise can damage our hearing. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

TWO CAUSES OF NIHL

  • Impulse noise, a one-time exposure to a loud sound such as fireworks, blasts, gunfire, or sirens.

  • Continuous exposure to loud noise. This type of hearing loss happens gradually over time.

NIHL affects our inner-ear hair cells as well as the auditory or hearing nerve. For a more in-depth understanding, see: how hearing works.

Not only can this type of hearing loss be permanent, it can also lead to tinnitus. Tinnitus is hearing a constant ringing, buzzing, or roaring without an external sound source. It can be in one or both ears and often occurs with hearing loss.


YOUR RISK

NIHL can come about from repeated exposure to music at high volumes on personal devices through headphones or earbuds. You may not be aware the following noisy settings may also cause NIHL suddenly or over time.

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Musical Concerts
Sporting Events
Fitness Studios
Dance Clubs
Coffee Shops
Video Arcades
Shooting Ranges
Weddings
Bars & Restaurants
Movie Theaters
Public Transportation
City Traffic
Kids' Birthday Parties
Airports
Construction Sites
Barbeques


SAFE AND SOUND

Hearing Health Foundation's Safe and Sound program advocates three ways to protect against excessive noise:

  • Block the noise by wearing earplugs or protective earmuffs, like those used by airport or lawn service walkers.

  • Walk away from loud noises or limit time spent in noisy environments.

  • Turn down the sound – if it’s under your control – on the growing number of tools, toys, and gadgets that add to the increasing noise level of daily life.

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If you suspect a hearing loss because you are having difficulty hearing or are experiencing ringing in the ears as a result of exposure to noise, schedule a hearing test right away.