Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)? That makes it the perfect time to learn about ways you can protect and prioritize your hearing health!
Hearing Loss Is a Common Issue
Millions of Americans live with some degree of hearing loss. While it’s most common in older adults, younger people are susceptible as well. Oftentimes, exposure to loud noise is the reason that children and young adults have hearing problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “an estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years (approximately 5.2 million) and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years (approximately 26 million) have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.”
How Loud Is Too Loud?
You might assume that only extremely loud noises, such as an explosion or blast from a demolition site, could be loud enough to harm your hearing. While it’s true that the louder the noise, the less time it takes for noise-induced hearing loss to occur, damage can occur at lower levels than you probably think.
Any prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels (roughly the equivalent of city traffic) can put you at risk for hearing loss. Some common activities that regularly reach levels louder than 85 decibels include:
- Hunting and shooting
- Attending rock concerts
- Riding motorcycles or snowmobiling
- Attending sporting events
- Household activities like mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower
- Listening to music too loudly on your headphones or earbuds
How To Protect Your Hearing
While it’s wise to avoid exposure to loud noise whenever possible, the good news is that you don’t have to give up the hobbies you love (like snowmobiling in the Minnesota winter) to keep your ears safe. You just have to make sure you take the right steps to protect your hearing. This means:
- Use proper hearing protection. Hearing protection like earplugs, earmuffs or custom earmolds can help reduce the decibel level down to a tolerable level while still letting you take part in activities that you enjoy. The right hearing protection for you will depend on how much of a volume reduction you need as well as what activities you’re participating in. If you are unsure, speak with a hearing specialist to learn what will help protect your hearing while ensuring you still hear the sounds you need and want to hear.
- Listen to music at a reasonable volume. When you’re listening to music with headphones, make sure the volume stays below 85 dB. Many smartphones have apps that will let you know if you are listening to music too loudly.
- Get a hearing test at the first sign of problems. If you find that your ears are ringing for days after attending a concert or that you are struggling to follow conversations at work or at home, make an appointment for a hearing test. The earlier hearing loss is diagnosed and treated with hearing aids or other assistive listening devices, the better it is for your overall health and well-being.
For more information about protecting your hearing, call the experts at Midwest Hearing today.