They say a man’s home is his castle, but much as those medieval fortresses faced a multitude of threats, danger lurks within your own house. You won’t have to contend with marauding bands of warriors or fire-breathing dragons, but potential hazards to your hearing aren’t anything to be taken lightly.
The Dangers in Everyday Appliances
Hearing loss is prevalent in Tucson and across the country. It affects 48 million people of all ages, making it one of the most common physical health conditions in the U.S. The most common causes are aging and noise exposure. There isn’t much you can do to prevent the former (other than to cease existing, which few of us would consider a tempting option). You can, however, take precautions to protect your ears from dangerous noise exposure.
Some of the most common noise sources are pretty obvious. If you’re attending a concert or sporting event, riding a motorcycle or speedboat, discharging firearms at a shooting range or tearing up the sidewalk in front of your house with a jackhammer, you are exposing yourself to noise levels that greatly exceed 85 decibels – the threshold for safe hearing. At least in these cases, you are likely to be wearing hearing protection.
Other hazardous noise sources may surprise you. Many are common appliances found in the home; chances are, you use them on a daily basis without giving your hearing a second thought. Few people are going to bother wearing earplugs when vacuuming the living room carpet, after all! While it’s unlikely you’ll experience hearing damage from a few minutes’ worth of cleaning, the cumulative effects of this and other household appliances can eventually cause harm to your hearing. Here’s a list of common appliances and their average decibel levels:
- Vacuum Cleaner: 60-85 dB
- Hair Dryer: 60-95 dB
- Blender: 80-90 dB
- Washing Machine/Dryer: 50-75 dB
- TV: 70 dB
- Doorbell/Telephone: 80 dB
- Garbage Disposal: 70-95 dB
Looking for more precise information on your specific appliances? Many manufacturers list decibel level ratings for their products in the owner’s manual or on their website.
Taming Your Blender: How to Protect Your Hearing
Hearing loss is irreversible; once damage to your hearing occurs, you can’t fix it. But you can prevent it from occurring in the first place! To protect your hearing in Tucson, try the following tips:
- Turn down the volume! This one is super obvious, but it should still be mentioned. Keeping the sound low when watching television or listening to music will help keep your hearing sharp.
- When shopping for household appliances, research their decibel levels and choose models that are quieter.
- Headphones are your best friend if your hobbies are especially noisy (think woodworking). A pair of noise-cancelling headphones will help you focus on your work and protect your hearing.
Just to be on the safe side, we recommend annual hearing screenings with a Tucson audiologist. Hearing loss usually develops gradually, and many people are unaware they are experiencing a problem. A routine hearing checkup will help catch an impairment early, increasing your odds of successful treatment.