I know I’ve written about this subject before, I tested a high school aged boy last week who had what appeared to be noise induced hearing loss and I think this information is worth repeating. One of the most common causes of hearing loss in the United States is loud noise. It can be loud that that you like to hear like music or loud noise that you hear on the job. If you are exposed to loud noise on the job, usually your employer is responsible for protecting your hearing. If your own hobby is potentially damaging your hearing then YOU are responsible for protecting your hearing.
Noise is damaging if it is loud enough and if you listen to it for a long enough period of time. Some sounds are loud enough to be immediately damaging like a gun shot. Here is a quick rule to tell if a sound is worth worrying about – if you have to shout to have a conversation above the sound of the noise then it is loud enough to damage your hearing. The rule that I tell kids (and anyone else who is plugged into their music
system) to ensure that you are listening in a safe range is that you should be able to have a conversation with a person an arm’s length away while listening to your music. If you cannot hear them, the music needs to be turned down.
There are three ways to protect your hearing:
- Avoid loud noise
- Turn down loud noise
- Wear hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs)
Valley Audiology fits many pairs of custom ear plugs every year and people really like them. However, the inexpensive foam plugs in the drug store can be effective if you roll them up small enough and hold them in your ear while they expand. The most important thing is to use them! Ask our audiologist if you have any questions about hearing protection.