Exposure to loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Since October is Audiology Awareness Month, we thought it was the perfect time to talk about how to protect your hearing.
How Noise Can Cause Hearing Loss
Prolonged exposure to any noise over 85 decibels can lead to noise-induced hearing loss by damaging the hair cells of your inner ears. The louder the noise, the less time it takes for damage to occur. Because these cells can’t be repaired or regenerated, permanent hearing loss can occur.
Activities That Can Trigger Noise-induced Hearing Loss
Many common activities are loud enough to cause noise-induced hearing loss, including:
- Working in fields like construction or manufacturing
- Hunting or shooting
- Riding motorcycles and snowmobiles
- Attending rock concerts
- Going to live sporting events
- Listening to music at high volume through earbuds or headphones
- Mowing the lawn
- Using a leaf blower
Protecting Your Hearing
If you enjoy listening to live music or attending a ballgame at Minute Maid Park, you don’t have to give it up. You just have to ensure you find the right hearing protection to keep your ears safe.
Unfortunately, many people who should wear hearing protection simply don’t. A 2018 survey included questions about the use of hearing protection devices, such as earplugs or earmuffs, during recreational exposure to loud athletic and entertainment events. They found that only approximately 8% of respondents reported consistent use HPDs at these events.
Hearing Loss Consequences
One of the earliest signs of noise-induced hearing loss is struggling to understand speech. This makes it difficult to communicate with others which can impact your life both at work and at home. You may feel less confident in your ability to follow along with conversations and experience more frequent misunderstandings when interacting with others.
These communication struggles can cause strain in your relationships and even lead you to isolate yourself from others. This isolation can lead to the following:
- Higher levels of anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia
To avoid this, be proactive about your hearing health now. Use hearing protection devices when needed, and if you suspect hearing loss, make an appointment for an audiological evaluation.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Hearing Systems today.