What Are the Top Contributors to Noise Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise induced hearing loss occurs as a result of damage to our inner ears behind our eardrums, where it is generally out of reach of invasive medical treatment. It is permanent damage we can’t fix and leads to semi-deafness and tinnitus ringing sounds playing out in our minds.
Noise-based hearing loss goes hand in hand with modern mechanized society. However, we can manage the impact by making sensible life-style changes, and explaining to our kids and grandkids what noisy motorbikes, rock concerts and hearing loss have in common.
The Likelihood Is All Around Us in the Environment
The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) explains that noise bombards us everywhere we go, from household appliances, to television sets and traffic. This is not good for healthy hearing.
Step outside early in the morning when the neighborhood is still asleep. Drink in the silence as you imagine listening to ‘signals from the stars’. This is what our hearing was made for when we were hunters and gatherers.
Our inner ears can withstand those city noises we spoke of in short bursts. But when the volume is ‘turned up high,’ those loud noises can lead to hearing loss. But this creeps up stealthily on us without us realizing it. Until the day comes when feedback from others breaks the news we are somewhat deaf.
Am I Likely to Develop Noise Induced Hearing Loss?
Mild to moderate deafness caused by exposure to loud sound is not necessarily age-related. Although it may take time to develop, it is more common among America’s aging population.
Indeed, the NIDCD advises, it can happen at any age, including children, teens, young adults, and older people, and it’s this common:
- Up to 17% of American teenagers show signs of loud noise-related hearing loss in one or both ears
- As many as 24% of American adults may have hearing loss in one or both ears
However, hearing loss from loud sounds does not necessarily come from work situations. NIDCD believes we can encourage it in our private lives too. Hunting, target shooting, snowmobiling, power-boat riding and yes loud music can all cause damage, as can lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and woodworking tools.
It’s The Decibels that Count
Decibels are units we use to measure the loudness of sound. As a general rule of thumb, although we have individual differences, sounds below 70 decibels are unlikely to cause noise induced hearing loss.
However, long or regular exposure at 85 decibels and over can get our hearing into difficulty. Concerts hearing loss is a good example of this. My Health Alberta says a loud rock concert produces around 120 decibels. At least Beethoven and Wagner varied their volumes!
- Normal conversations are around 70 decibels unless somebody gets excited
- The sound track in movie theaters can be anything from 74 to 104 decibels
- However, NIDCD rates dirt and motorbikes slightly higher at 80 to 110
- Headphones at maximum volume beat them at 94 to 119 decibels
- Ambulance and other emergency sirens can rate between 110 and 129
- But firework shows beat them hands down at a massive 140 to 160 decibels
Work-Related Hearing Loss from Loud Noise
Some work roles play out in noisy circumstances. Speak to your health and safety adviser for more information about your rights. The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates 22 million workers may be at risk from work noise induced hearing loss.
If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone 3 feet away, then you could be in an 85 decibel-plus noise zone. This is affecting your hearing health if you sense ringing / humming in your ears, or temporary deafness, after you leave the noisy environment.
How to Counter Hearing Loss from Loud Noises
- Get to know the noisy areas you frequent that leave your ears humming or slightly deaf
- Avoid those places if you can, otherwise obtain hearing protection from ear plugs or ear muffs
- If you can’t protect yourself, then you need to ask yourself whether hearing, or being there is better
- Protect your children’s ears while they are too young to understand, explain things to family and friends
What To Do If Your Hearing is Already Damaged
If you suspect you have hearing impairment, ask an audiologist to do a hearing test. They will tell you if you need hearing aids, and very likely try to sell you them. Get a written quotation, but tell them you need time to arrange your finance.
Shop around for hearing aid prices and you will be surprised how expensive they can be. There’s general consensus outside the hearing aid industry, high street prices are higher than they need be.
Some internet providers supply hearing aids at lower prices because they have more cost-effective business processes. Blue Angels sells rechargeable hearing aids at low prices you may find hard to believe. But they are for real, check them out here.
Blue Angels have sold tens of thousands of rechargeable hearing aids over the past twelve years, which is a powerful recommendation. And they have a written money-back guarantee in case their highly-rated technology does not work for you.
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