October is celebrated as National Protect Your Hearing Month, dedicated to raising awareness about the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the importance of protecting your ears from harmful noises.
Did you know that various sounds in our environment have the potential to harm our hearing?
The louder the sound and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of damaging your ears. For instance, everyday sounds like a hair dryer can reach up to 90 dBA and cause damage in as little as 10-15 minutes.
Sporting events can be even more damaging, reaching 95-100 dBA and resulting in harm within 1-5 minutes. Here are some decibel levels for common sounds:
Common Sound Decibel Levels:
Repeated exposure to sounds exceeding 85 dBA can lead to hearing loss.
Furthermore, loud noise exposure has been associated with tinnitus, a condition characterized by a ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in the head.
To safeguard your hearing, there are two frequently used hearing protection devices available: ear muffs and earplugs.
These devices can help prevent hearing damage from exposure to loud noises. It's important to note that hearing protection won't eliminate all sounds; instead, they muffle and reduce the overall intensity of sounds.
Types of Hearing Protection:
There are two types of earplugs:
2. Ear Muffs
Ear muffs are another common hearing protection device. They are easy to use and consist of plastic cups fitted with sound-dampening material such as foam. They fit comfortably over the ears and come in a variety of sizes.
In addition to using hearing protection devices, there are other important considerations to keep in mind when it comes to protecting your hearing:
Know Your Environment
Be aware of your surroundings and the noise levels you are exposed to. Certain occupations and recreational activities may involve consistently high noise levels. Understanding the risks associated with your environment can help you take proactive steps to protect your hearing.
Regular Hearing Check-ups
Schedule regular hearing check-ups with a healthcare professional or audiologist. These check-ups can help detect early signs of hearing loss and provide guidance on protective measures.
During National Protect Your Hearing Month and throughout the year, you can take simple steps to protect your hearing:
Remember, anyone of any age can develop noise-induced hearing loss(NIHL). According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 40 million U.S. adults between the ages of 20-69 have NIHL. The good news is that hearing damage due to noise is entirely preventable!