Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States. A single shot from a shotgun, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposures to loud machinery may, over an extended period of time, present serious risks to human hearing.
A rule of thumb – If you have to raise your voice to shout over the noise for your voice to be heard by someone within an arm’s length away, that noise could be dangerously loud.
Excessive noise exposure damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. This damage can result in permanent, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Hazardous noise exposures can occur at work or during recreational activities. You can prevent hearing loss by removing yourself from situations where noise is excessive or by using ear plugs to protect your ears.
- Beware of recreational sources of hazardous noise like firearms, firecrackers, power tools, music concerts, dance clubs, NASCAR, sporting events, motorcycles, motorboats, snowmobiles, powerboats.
- The risk for hearing loss due to exposure to noise is especially high among factory and heavy industry workers, transportation workers, military personnel, construction workers, miners, farmers, firefighters, police officers, musicians, and entertainment industry professionals.
Warning Signs – these are symptoms you may experience after an exposure to excessive noise:
- You hear ringing (tinnitus) in your ears following exposure to hazardous noise.
- A feeling of fullness or plugged ears after leaving a loud environment.
- Difficulty understanding voices after exposure to noise.
Protect your hearing:
- Wear hearing protection while operating any loud equipment at home or work.
- If you work in noise or loud factory make sure your employer is meeting federal or state regulations to protect employees from any hazardous noise levels.
- Monitor volume and length of time you listen to personal listening devices (such as iPods). Rule of thumb if you can hear what’s playing out of your child’s earbuds chances are they are listening too loud).
- Let your audiologist at Ken-Ton Hearing monitor your hearing with an annual hearing evaluation to track hearing levels regularly.