Hearing loss can be truly devastating for an individual. Most people associate this problem as part of the aging process and associate hearing aids for seniors and the elderly. Consider how often you might be told to speak up when talking to your favorite seniors. The truth is that hearing loss isn’t just a problem that can come with age.
Hearing loss is also a problem that can occur based on your behavior and the activities in which you participate. Noise-induced hearing loss can happen at any age, and loud music can be the culprit. According to the UN Health Agency Worldwide, about 360 million people suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss. This statistic shows how little attention we pay to our ears.
What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is the hearing loss that is caused by the everyday noises around us. The majority of the time these noises are at safe levels, but if noises become too loud and last for an extended period-they can damage your inner ear and cause hearing loss. It’s up to you to protect your own ears. Noise-induced hearing loss is something that is 100 percent preventable. You can have a total hearing loss, or just partial hearing loss due to noise. It all depends on the severity of the damage. Consider the effects of loud noises or music.
One or both ears
Your hearing loss doesn’t necessarily have to affect both ears at the same time. It may affect one or the other depending on the circumstances. It also could affect both.
Temporary hearing loss
The hearing loss that you experience may just be temporary. If this happens, you won’t be able to hear as well as you usually do for a short period, but your hearing will return to normal levels. Your hearing may come back after a good night’s sleep. Keep in mind that just because it came back, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t do any damage. You need to make sure to take precautions going forward do you don’t end up causing permanent hearing loss in the future every time you expose your ears to loud noises.
Tinnitus is another disorder that can happen when you’re exposed to loud noises. Tinnitus, also known as a ringing in your ears, is usually temporary. Just as with temporary hearing loss, you need to take precautions to avoid permanent hearing loss going forward. Many times, tinnitus and temporary hearing loss may happen simultaneously.
Permanent hearing loss
Permanent hearing loss is what you want to avoid. Your hearing will not recover, nor can you get your lost hearing back ever again without help. Your hearing will never be as good as it once was. This happens from prolonged and repetitive exposure to loud noise.
Causes of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Be aware of the leading causes of noise-induced hearing loss can help you make changes to protect your hearing.
Listening to music through ear buds can cause damage to your ears. It’s easy to have the music too loud and leave ear buds in your ears for extended periods of time. The volume doesn’t even need to be all that loud to do damage. Levels of 85 decibels or higher over eight hours, or 100 decibels for 15 minutes, are considered unsafe. To put it in perspective, 85 decibels is only about the level of city traffic that you hear while inside your car! Instead of earbuds, consider using headphones or earphones that aren’t placed directly into your ear but rather on the outside of your ears. This can help you keep the decibel level down further.
Hanging out in bars, nightclubs, concerts or sporting events
Step back from those speakers! When you’re at one of these functions, make sure to stay further away from the massive speakers that blast sound to the attendees. This is not the place to camp out to listen to the band. You may even want to wear ear protection when going to bars, nightclubs, concerts or sporting events.
Even your job can be contributing to your hearing loss. This is especially true when working in machine shops or warehouses where there is a lot of ambient noise. Even if your employer doesn’t require you to wear hearing protection, it may be a good idea to approach your boss about wearing them if you’re concerned about the noise level.
Devices That Can Help
Fortunately, there are devices that can help protect your hearing and amplify low sounds so you can hear them.
Ear plugs and noise-canceling hearing protection
Invest in some hearing protection. These are the only ears you’ll ever have, and it makes sense to use ear plugs if you are in a loud, noisy environment.
If you already have some hearing loss, there are options and products to make your life easier. You can invest in a hearing aid so that you can enjoy hearing people, and other noises at normal levels again. Take precautions with hearing protection if you are still going to loud events or it’s loud in your workplace. You want to be careful so you don’t make your hearing loss worse.
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