Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in the United States. Repeated exposures to loud machinery, music, and other noises may, over a period of time, damage your hearing. If you have to shout over the noise to be heard by someone an arm’s length away, the noise is probably in the dangerous range. A noise-induced hearing loss cannot be medically treated nor can it be reversed, but it can be prevented.
If you can’t avoid hazardous noise levels, hearing protection is mandatory. Properly fit hearing protection acts as a barrier between the noise and the inner ear, protecting the ear from intense noise levels and additional hearing loss. Each type of hearing protector comes with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), which gives you the approximate amount of noise that will be reduced.
We can help you to select the type of protection that is best for you.
Did you know that:
- 10 million Americans have irreversible hearing damage from noise?
- 30 million are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day?
- The effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually?
- Excessive noise damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. This damage results in sensorineural hearing loss and often tinnitus (ringing of the ears).
- Dangerous levels of noise can come from working in noisy occupations or in engaging in dangerous recreational activities: Dangerous recreational activities include: video arcades, fire crackers, discos, music concerts, shooting a gun, movie theaters, sporting events, motor boards, motorcycles, snowmobiles and “boom cars.”
Occupations particularly under risk for hearing loss due to exposure to noise: firefighters, police officers, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, military personnel, heavy industry workers, musicians and entertainment industry professionals.
Some of the warning signs of exposure to hazardous noise are:
- Inability to hear someone 3 feet away
- Pain in your ears after leaving a noisy area
- Ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears immediately after exposure to noise
- Sudden difficulty understanding speech after exposure to noise
Hearing loss from iPods
Apple has released a software upgrade for the iPod that allows users or parents to easily set a maximum volume limit. The settings can then be locked with a code. It has also launched a website on how to listen safely with the iPod at http://www.apple.com/sound/
Experts have recommended that iPod use be limited to a maximum of 60 percent volume for no longer than 60 minutes per day. The 60/60 rule, as proposed by Dr. Brian Fligor, an audiologist from Boston Children’s Hospital, underscores the need to limit not just the volume level, but the length of sound exposure as well.