Hearing loss affects many people, and the number of people who are diagnosed with the condition is growing every year. This is partly due to an increasingly loud world around us, and partly due to our own failure to understand the impact of noise on our hearing and protect our ears from damage.
Did you know that exposure to loud noises is one of the most common causes of hearing loss? Even a single exposure to a dangerously loud noise can cause permanent damage to the hearing organs, and most of us listen to loud sounds for a long time on a daily basis. It is estimated that 20% of teenagers aged 12-19 are now affected by hearing loss, and it is vital that we raise awareness of this issue.
What Sounds Cause Hearing Loss?
It is the volume at which a sound is heard that leads to hearing loss, rather than the type of sound, but the most common culprits include:
• Listening to music using earbuds. The use of in-the-ear earbuds to listen to music can be dangerous because sounds are so close to the hearing organs. Many people listen to music in this way at a high volume, and many do so for several hours per day, and this is simply not safe for their hearing. For every hour of listening at 60% volume, you should take a quiet break of an hour to allow your ears to recover. Setting a lower volume, that enables you to have a normal conversation at the same time, will help to protect your ears and prevent long term damage from developing.
• Working in loud environments. Some working environments are particularly noisy, such as construction sites and music venues. If you work in a place that exposes you to high levels of noise, be aware that adding to the volume, for example by listening to music, will put further pressure on your ears. You should consider wearing earmuffs or noise cancelling headphones, and take breaks from the noise whenever you are able to.
• Spending time in public spaces that are noisy. Public spaces that involve high levels of noise such as train or bus stations, or sports stadiums, can put your ears under great pressure and lead to hearing damage. Be aware that normal conversations usually register at around 65dB, and that any sound above 85dB can cause permanent damage to hearing. Therefore, ongoing public service announcements coupled with road traffic or trains can easily take you over the safe threshold and risk damaging your ears.
Book A Free Hearing Test With Us At Hidden Hearing
If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, you should book a free hearing test with an experienced audiologist as soon as you can. Some hearing loss can be temporary, if caused by a blockage in the ear, for example, and untreated hearing loss can lead to problems such as depression and dementia, so it is vital to seek help as soon as possible.
Hidden Hearing is the leading private provider of hearing care solutions in Ireland, with a national network that includes over seventy-five branches and clinics. We stock a wide range of hearing aids, including new digital devices that are tiny and discreet, and we will be happy to help you find the best solution for you and your lifestyle. Pop into your local branch today, or contact Hidden Hearing online.