In your Tucson high school shop class, you were taught the importance of wearing protective eyewear while working with tools. Now, I’m sure you don’t even think twice about donning the oversized glasses when beginning a project. But what about your ears?
Protecting Your Hearing
We are all exposed to sound on a daily basis. Volume levels vary considerably, and can easily exceed 85 decibels (dB) – the threshold that is considered safe. Any prolonged exposure to noise exceeding this is harmful and can cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss. High-risk pursuits include hunting, riding motorcycles, attending rock concerts, listening to music at high volume through earbuds or headphones, and even mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower.
Signs & Prevention
Hearing loss often develops gradually, and may not be immediately noticeable. If conversations and other noises sound distorted or muffled, you may be experiencing early symptoms. Other signs include frequently asking people to repeat themselves when speaking, and watching TV or listening to the radio with the volume set at a level uncomfortable to others.
Many times exposure to loud noise causes a temporary hearing loss that disappears within 48 hours, but over time this may lead to long-term hearing damage. The good news? It is easily preventable. Follow these tips to protect your hearing:
- Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noise. Earplugs are a must in noisy environments such as rock concerts and sporting events. They should also be worn when riding a motorcycle, mowing the lawn, using power tools, etc. If your job exposes you to loud noise, your employer is required by OSHA to supply hearing protection.
- Turn down the volume. When listening to music or watching television, keep the volume low.
- Limit the number of noisy appliances running at the same time.
- Buy quieter products. Many appliances list dB ratings in their specifications.
Your Tucson audiologist can create custom earplugs designed for specific activities such as hunting and listening to live music. They can also help you determine what type of hearing protection you will need for a variety of other activities; all you have to do is ask. Contact us today to learn more.