Not all types of hearing loss can be prevented, but one of the most common causes – excess noise exposure – can.
Hearing loss is irreversible. Once your hearing is gone, it’s gone for good. Taking steps now to prevent hearing loss can pay off down the road.
Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing impairment among people of all ages. Exposure to excessively loud noise can permanently damage the hair cells of the cochlea, causing a loss of hearing. This often happens gradually over an extended period of time, but a single loud gunshot or explosion may cause immediate damage. Taking a proactive approach can help reduce your odds of developing noise-induced hearing loss
Damaging noise levels can be found in many situations. Attending concerts or sporting events, working with machinery or power tools, riding a motorcycle or snowmobile, firing a gun and setting off fireworks are all activities that increase your risk for developing hearing loss. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this from occurring.
The single best way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to wear ear protection. Earplugs and earmuffs are a must if you will be participating in an activity where noise levels will exceed 85 decibels (dB), the safety threshold. If loud noise is a part of your occupation, your employer is required by federal law to provide adequate hearing protection. Custom molded earplugs offer the best protection. Additionally, some earplugs are designed specifically for certain occupations and activities. Musicians, hunters, police officers and swimmers can all purchase custom hearing protection.
When watching television or listening to music, keep the volume turned down to a reasonable level – particularly if you wear headphones or ear buds. Buy products with low decibel ratings, and refrain from running multiple noisy appliances at once.
It’s also a good idea to have regular hearing exams to help detect problems early. The sooner hearing loss is diagnosed, the better your odds of finding an effective treatment solution.