Since hearing loss is the most widespread disability, most people know someone who is suffering from the condition. Hearing loss is experienced by one out of four adults in world. Still, only about 10 percent of the population actually sees themselves as deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, out of 1,000 babies, four will be born with hearing loss or progressively lose their hearing in childhood. Hearing aids may help restore some degree of hearing. However, hearing loss prevention is best.
The prevalence of hearing loss increases with age. As people are exposed to loud noises for prolonged periods, they risk damaging the cells of their inner ear. This damage can result in permanent hearing loss. A good rule of thumb is to limit the time that you listen to a sound based on the loudness. The louder the sound, the less time that you can safely listen to it.
Irreparable hearing loss can occur when sounds reach 85 or more decibels. Most people can hear sounds that are around 0 decibels, such as that made by rustling leaves. However, sounds at or above 85 decibels are common. A sound of a bulldozer registers at about 85 dB and can cause permanent hearing loss after eight hours of noise exposure. However, the roar of thunder can measure around 120 decibels and may cause immediate hearing loss.
Still, there are ways to help preserve your hearing by limiting your exposure to loud noises. Here are a few ways to help you protect your hearing:
Everyday activities, such as mowing the lawn, can expose you to high levels of noise. Be sure to protect your ears by wearing earplugs. The plugs can usually be found at a local hardware store and can effectively lessen the sound level to which your inner ear is exposed.
Take noise breaks
Your ears need time to recover from prolonged exposure to high volumes of sound. If you have spent the evening at a local nightclub, give your ears a day or so to recover.
Don’t turn your volume too high
By turning the volume of your headphones down, you can protect your hearing. Some music players and computerized devices offer a warning when the volume reaches an unsafe level. If you receive the warning, reduce your volume immediately.
Hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds can be permanent. If you believe that you are suffering from hearing loss, have your ears professionally evaluated by a hearing aid clinic to determine the extent of the damage and whether or not you will need a hearing aid.