Importance of Looking after Your Hearing
Hearing protection is vital to maintaining proper communication and physical safety. Can you imagine driving your car and not hearing a siren until it is right next to you? Or not hearing your child cry out in pain? A life without proper hearing can be difficult and sometimes dangerous. Not to mention how the average person will assume a person is less than intelligent before they will realize the problem lies with a hearing loss.
One of the most common causes of permanent hearing loss is excessive noise. Exposure to excessively loud sounds for an extended period of time can cause irreversible nerve damage to the inner ear. The longer the exposure to loud sounds, the more apt there is to be a chance of hearing loss.
OSHA standards state that, to the unprotected ear, sustained exposure to noise over 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in the majority of people. The louder the noise, the faster this damage occurs. To illustrate this further, the allowed exposure time goes down by one-half for each 5 decibels over the normal limit of 85 decibels.
Protecting the ear is fundamental to preventing sensorineural damage, more commonly known as nerve damage. Nerve damage can be a very sneaky culprit when it comes to hearing loss. The damage may be gradual and is often painless. Usually, by the time a person notices their hearing loss problem it is too late to correct it.
Watch for the signs and be aware that they can be avoided with proper protection. Always choose the best hearing protection for your application. If you notice any of the symptoms below, contact a health care professional specializing in hearing to have your hearing tested.
Finding it difficult to understand speech; if you find you can hear some words but not make out all of them
ÂYTinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ears right after being exposed to loud noises
ÂYSounds being muffled and difficult to hear after departing a loud area
Hearing protection is just as important as wearing sports safety equipment. Sure, you could play football without a helmet or padding, but your chances of getting hurt would certainly increase. It makes common sense to wear the proper football gear just as wearing a bicycle safety helmet is now accepted because it has become a proven method of protection. As we progress in our knowledge and technology, we have the ability to make the world as safer and more enjoyable environment.
Ear protection needs to be an everyday occurrence when you are going to be exposed to higher and louder than normal noise levels. There are many types of hearing protection specifically designed for different circumstances. Consult your audiologist to discover the best protection for you.