Save Your Hearing
Hearing is important because it is a sense that helps us make emotional connections to people, events, places and animals. Just think about the time you first heard your baby cry, or the waves hitting the beach on vacation, or maybe your cat purring at your feet to welcome you home. These are all little moments in time we have associated with the sounds around us.
However, there are sounds in our environment that can be harmful and cause permanent damage to our ears resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing/sounds in your ears). These sounds can either be fast impulse sounds like gunfire or an explosion, or loud and long-lasting like a concert or construction site. Either way, the sensory cells located in the inner ear can become damaged and when they are, they do not grow back.
For example, have you ever attended a concert or wedding with loud music, and for a few hours afterwards, your hearing was muffled? This is called a temporary-threshold-shift and is a form of noise induced hearing loss. Some people don’t notice the immediate damage and instead experience gradual hearing loss over years of exposure. This typically presents with difficulty hearing in background noise, issues understanding speech clearly and turning up the volume on the television.
However, noise induced hearing loss is preventable and there are a few things you can do to help prevent this kind of damage.
First, turn down the volume and listen to music and media at safe levels. The environment you’re in may be dangerously loud if the sound is painful to your ears, the noise makes your ears ring or if your hearing is muffled after leaving the venue. Also, make sure you and your family members aren’t turning up the volume to dangerous levels on personal earbuds. If someone else can hear the sound through your headphones, it likely is too loud.
Second, wear hearing protection while in loud environments or when performing noisy tasks. Examples of situations when you should wear hearing protection can include mowing the lawn, using firearms or when at concerts.
Third, distance or remove yourself from that noisy environment.
Lastly, if you or a loved one are concerned about hearing loss, or are interested in determining your baseline hearing sensitivity, seek out an audiologist to have your hearing medically evaluated. Audiologists are the experts in hearing and balance disorders. They are also great resources for custom hearing protection devices for everyday use as well as for musicians or hunters. For more information, please reach out to me at 330-433-1450.
Blog content provided by AMG Audiologist Kelsey Krueger, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA