Latest posts by Neighborhood Hearing (see all)
- Hearing Loss Cures of the Past - November 21, 2019
- Ear Infections & Hearing Loss - October 31, 2019
- Conductive Hearing Loss: Signs, Causes, and Treatments - October 31, 2019
At Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center, this is an interesting question for us. With the understanding that noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common forms, we thought we’d investigate!
Excessive Noise Can Cause Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age. 12.5% of children and teenagers 6-19 years old and 17% of adults 20-29 years old have permanent damage to their hearing.
One of the main proponents of loss of hearing is exposure to excessive noise. The noise doesn’t have to be prolonged; it can be as a result of a single loud blast or impulse. This noise-induced hearing loss is a result from structural damage to the nerve fibers and/or structures that respond to sound that reside in the inner ear. These structural damages cannot be surgically corrected.
Some of the loudest sounds in the world are:
- The Saturn V Rocket at 204 decibels.
- Sperm Whale echolocation at 174 decibels.
- The Krakatoa Sound Wave which happened in 1883, at 172 decibels. This volcanic explosion was so loud that the sound broke people’s eardrums that were 40 miles away from the source.
- NASA’s acoustic testing chamber for satellites at 163 decibels.
- A jackhammer at 100 decibels.
There is also a genetic component to some hearing loss. Most babies that have hearing loss as newborns have a genetic component to the hearing loss. There are also environmental factors in utero that can affect the infant’s development of hearing.
Protecting Your Hearing
The average person isn’t subjected to a jackhammer or a jet engine going off in close proximity without protection, but there are things that you can do in order to protect your hearing in your day to day life.
Preventing noise-induced hearing loss is important, as communication can be drastically affected by not being able to hear well; speech might come out incorrectly and the constant asking of someone to repeat themselves could wear on relationships if it happens frequently- exhausting everyone involved. In addition to communication issues, hearing loss could cause a ringing or pain in the ears (also known as tinnitus), and the inability to hear environmental noises or warning signals, putting you at risk of danger that you wouldn’t know about because your hearing is impaired.
Ways to facilitate hearing loss prevention are as follows:
- Turn down the volume on televisions and headphones. The average headphones turned up to their maximum volume are as loud as a jackhammer, at 100 decibels, and are very detrimental to a person’s hearing.
- Identify the sources of noises that might harm your hearing, and stay away, if possible.
- Use custom hearing protection in places where you can’t stay away in order to minimize or eliminate sound in loud areas. This would be ideal if you work in areas where there is loud noise constantly and is usually recommended by safety regulations and by OSHA as proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Seek hearing evaluations by professional audiologists if there is a risk of hearing loss.
- Take a sound break in order to let your hearing come back to its normal range, especially if you are at something like a concert where the loud sound is prolonged. This usually takes hours to days for your hearing to return to normal after such exposure.
Hearing loss prevention comes in many different styles of products. The devices work by partially or totally blocking the ear canal from receiving any of the vibrations that make our ears able to hear sounds.
Types of Hearing Protection
Otoplastics are custom hearing protection molded for the user. These products are able to decrease the volume in a given area to 80 decibels. They usually contain two parts; a filer and a hypoallergenic part that fits in the ear canal.
Universal earplugs still allow you to hear some sounds. The sounds being let through a filter are much lower than what they would originally be without the earplugs.
Earmuffs cover the ear completely. These are usually good for children as well as people that don’t want anything in the ear canal, though they can cause headaches if they are improperly fitted.
Foam earplugs are usually the cheapest option, and come in yellow. they are moldable foam that is placed into the ear canal.
Wax balls are also cheap and they completely seal the ear canal from receiving any sound whatsoever with moldable wax. They tend to be more expensive than foam earplugs.
These are similar to the foam earplugs but are made from a less irritating material for extra comfort. Silica is usually hypoallergenic and can be worn by people that find the foam earplugs to be uncomfortable.
Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center
For custom hearing protection, contact us at Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center. We can do an in-depth analysis of your hearing and will be able to identify and suggest the items that would be right for you. We could also recommend some custom hearing protection for you. Contact us today to learn more!