May is Better Hearing Month!

Did you know that May is Better Hearing Month? Hearing is a vital component of communication and relationships. Let’s get you up to speed on better hearing.

What is an Audiologist, anyway?
Audiologists are the primary health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. They also prescribe, fit, and dispense hearing aids and other amplification and hearing assistance technologies as well as assess and treat individuals with tinnitus (noise in the ear, such as ringing). Audiologists treat all ages and types of hearing loss: the elderly, adults, teens, children, and infants.

How do I protect my hearing?
The key to keeping your hearing healthy is knowing how much loud sound you’re exposed to. A ‘noise diet’ can protect your hearing from future problems. Most cases of deafness are caused by damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. This damage can be caused by too much noise, and it’s permanent. Noise-related hearing loss, though treatable, is usually irreversible. A good rule of thumb is: the louder the sound, the less time you can safely listen to it. Here are some tips to conserving your hearing:

  1. Use earplugs to shield your ears from loud sounds. The louder the noise and the longer you’re exposed to it, the greater the chance of damaging your hearing.
  2. Turn down the music on your personal music player. If you can’t hear external sounds with earphones in, it’s too loud. If the person next to you can hear your music, it’s too loud.
  3. Turn down the dial on your TV or radio. If you need to raise your voice to be heard above the sound, turn it down.
  4. Don’t put up with work noise. OSHA has regulations that your employer should be implementing to protect you from hearing loss. Speak with your HR rep to learn more.
  5. Be wary in the car. Listening to the radio in a confined space increases the risk of damaging your hearing. Don’t listen too loud for too long.

How much noise is too much noise?
Here’s a guide to some typical noise levels, measured in decibels (dB). The higher the number, the louder the noise. Noise levels above 105dB can damage your hearing if endured for longer than 15 minutes each week. Lower levels between 80dB and 90dB can also cause permanent damage if you’re exposed to them for hours at a time on a day-to-day basis.

Exposure to loud sounds (even just ONE!) can cause noise-induced hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss causes no pain, no visible trauma or scars, is unnoticeable in early stages, accumulated with each overexposure and takes years to notice a change in hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and 100% preventable! Be sure to follow the tips for hearing conservation to prevent permanent hearing damage. Call our office to schedule an appointment for custom earplugs!

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