Hearing loss can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, in the last decade, younger and younger people have been diagnosed with hearing loss. Everyday activities may be impacting the quality of your hearing without you even realizing it. Listening to loud music with earbuds or headsets, going to concerts, blow-drying your hair, mowing the lawn, and loud machinery can cause hearing loss. Acquired hearing loss is any type of hearing loss that occurs after birth and can be caused by illness, injury or loud noise.
Noise is a major factor in acquired hearing loss. Hearing loss can result from one loud explosion of sound as well as prolonged exposure to high decibels of noise. Sound is measured in decibels, or dB; anything louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss. See the chart below to give yourself an idea of some of the noises that you hear on a frequent basis that could be detrimental to your hearing. All of these things have surprising effects on your hearing. So how can you avoid damage to your hearing? Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and those around you from hearing loss.
Wear hearing protection. Hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs can be purchased at drugstores, hardware stores and sports stores. These will help to reduce the effects of loud noise.
Don't listen to loud sounds for too long. If you don't have hearing protection, try to get away from loud sounds to give your ears a rest. Cover or put your fingers in your ears when emergency vehicles go past.
Don't be afraid to turn down the sound. Keep your music at half volume, and don't be afraid to ask friends or neighbors to turn down the sound as well.
Check out noise ratings. Look at the noise ratings on appliances, sporting equipment, power tools, and blow-dryers before you purchase them. Purchase goods that are quieter — especially for children. If you believe that you may be suffering from acquired hearing loss, talk with your physician about your options and what you can do to prevent further damage.
Decible ratings chart
Very loud 70 dB — busy traffic, vacuum cleaner or alarm clock 80-90 dB — blow dryer or kitchen blender
Extremely loud 100 dB — hand drill or pneumatic drill 106 dB — lawnmower or snowblower 110 dB — chainsaw or maximum sound input for mp3 players
Painful 120 dB — jet plane takeoff or siren 130 dB — jackhammer 140 dB — firearms or jet engine
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