Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: How to Protect Your Hearing from Loud Sounds
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, so what better way to celebrate than learning how to protect your hearing?
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common cause of nerve deafness and affects as many as 10 million Americans. It is a permanent issue, and while devices such as hearing aids can help you hear better, they cannot fully correct it.
What Causes Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is the slow loss of hearing caused by too much noise.
Simply put, it occurs when sounds are too loud for our ears to handle. These loud sounds can either be long-lasting or happen during a brief period.
For example, exposure to a single, intense sound, such as an explosion, can cause just as much damage as continuous exposure to loud sounds that one might experience while working on construction sites or other noisy environments.
How Do You Know If You’re Affected?
More often than not, NIHL happens slowly over time. Those affected don’t necessarily experience pain or a list of symptoms like other kinds of medical conditions.
After being exposed to a loud noise, one might hear a ringing sound in their ears (i.e., tinnitus) or have trouble hearing people talk. This usually goes away within a few days or even hours. However, if you’re exposed to that kind of noise again, it’s very possible you’ll experience permanent hearing loss.
Some early signs of NIHL include:
- Difficulty understanding what people say, especially when in crowded rooms or environments
- Asking people to repeat what they’ve said more than once
- Inability to hear high-pitched sounds, such as a baby crying
- Constantly needing to turn the TV volume higher
If you find yourself experiencing any of these signs, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your ear doctor. While you might think you have NIHL, getting tested by a trained professional is the only way to confirm you have hearing loss.
Can It Be Prevented?
While NIHL is a permanent issue, it is completely preventable by adjusting your exposure to loud sounds or protecting your ears.
Some ways to avoid NIHL include:
- Avoiding loud environments or activities
- Wearing earplugs or other protective devices in loud environments or during loud activities
- Turning the volume down when possible (i.e., television, radio, headphones, and so on)
- Taking breaks or moving away from loud noises if you’re unable to control the volume yourself
- Learning what noises and environments can cause permanent damage and educating family, friends, and colleagues about the hazards
- Protecting the ears of those who are unable to protect themselves or know better, such as children or infants
As we mentioned earlier, the only way to really know you’re experiencing NIHL is by consulting with your ear doctor. If you’re looking for an audiologist in Lancaster, PA, look no further than Resonance Audiology.
Our staff is determined to find you the best solution for your hearing and communication difficulties. We will explore the best solutions to meet your communication needs while meeting your budget. But don’t just take our word for it—read some of our reviews!
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!