Not only is October Audiology Awareness Month, but it’s also National Protect Your Hearing Month as well. This makes it the perfect time to discuss some of the best ways to protect your ears and prioritize your hearing health!
Quick Facts About Noise-induced Hearing Loss
- Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when noise causes damage to the hair cells of your inner ears, which play a vital role in the hearing process.
- Any prolonged exposure to sound above 85 decibels (dB) can cause hearing loss. This is roughly the equivalent volume of city traffic.
- The louder the sound, the less time it takes for damage to occur.
- Common activities that can cause noise-induced hearing loss include hunting, riding snowmobiles or motorcycles, attending live sports events or concerts, using a leaf blower, using power tools, and listening to music too loud with headphones.
- Many people are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work, such as those who work in construction, manufacturing or logging.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that “12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.”
- Damage to the hair cells of the inner ear cannot be reversed and any hearing loss due to that damage is permanent.
Use Hearing Protection Devices To Keep Your Ears Safe
If you love going to football games or taking in a live show at The Queen, take heart in knowing that you can still participate in activities that you enjoy while minimizing your risk of hearing loss.
Hearing protection devices like earplugs or earmuffs can bring the decibels down to a safe level while still letting you hear what you need and want to hear. Options range from foam earplugs that you buy at any local drugstore to custom earmolds made to fit the exact contours of your unique ears.
Unfortunately, not enough people who would benefit from hearing protection devices currently use them. A 2018 survey that included questions about the use of hearing protection devices during recreational exposure to loud athletic and entertainment events found that only approximately 8% of respondents reported consistent use HPDs at these events.
Using hearing protection devices and limiting your exposure to loud noises is vital to preventing permanent noise-induced hearing loss. If you would like additional information on what type of protection would work best for you or wish to make an appointment with one of our experts, call Wilmington Audiology Services today.