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The change in people’s sunscreen application and healthy sun habits have changed drastically in the past few decades. More than ever, we take precautions as we also enjoy our serving of Vitamin D. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we started bringing as much attention to the way we treat our ears?
Hearing loss is a serious issue
Hearing loss is a serious public health issue in this country. Nearly 15% of all Americans over the age of 18 report a degree of hearing difficulty. As we age, the incidence of hearing loss climbs, as one third of adults over the age of 65 live with hearing loss. While the types of hearing loss vary, from genetic causes to traumatic events to simply the natural aging process, we do know that repeated exposure to too loud sound can severely damage hearing. The repeated exposure to too loud sounds over a period of time can even result in irreversible hearing loss.
What is noise induced hearing loss?
Noise induced hearing loss is caused by one traumatic incident involving a loud burst of sound, such as an explosion, damaging the workings of the inner ear. However, more insidiously, it can occur slowly and over time by repeated exposure to dangerously loud sounds. Noise induced hearing loss can occur to anyone in any age group. Age certainly plays a role, for instance, you’re much more likely to perceive the effects of too loud noise after 20 years of repeated exposure versus five years. However, the younger generation is participating in hearing damaging behaviors at a higher incidence than ever before. The World Health Organization released a statement warning people of the very real and present dangers of too loud volumes when wearing earbuds.
Healthy habits for healthy hearing
One thing that is paramount as we try to protect our hearing system is to be aware of the situations you are subjecting your ears to. Humans are highly adaptable and that has worked in our favor for thousands of years. However, it can also mean that we can get used to situations we should evacuate. If you always leave your office window open in the summer and a construction project starts up, you might notice the noise dramatically for a few days. Then, most likely, you’ll begin to tune it out. But at what cost? Your ears may be paying an irreversible price.
Instead, begin the habit of paying attention. This means that like noticing the temperature or even your sun exposure, you begin to pay mind to the noise levels of the environments you are in.
Beware of everyday contributors
A few commonplace chores or activities that you might participate in regularly could be damaging to your ears. Have you ever considered wearing ear plugs or noise canceling headphones as you mow your lawn? Probably not. Your neighbor doesn’t and come to think of it, not many people you know do, so why should you? Lawnmowers, a weekly summertime tool, emit around 90 to 110 decibels. It’s not an outrageously dangerous noise in itself but consider the hours that accumulate over the course of a summer and add that to other noisy activities that occur in your life. Pretty soon, you have racked up a large number of minutes in which your ears have been exposed to too loud sounds.
Take the necessary precautions
This can all be mitigated by first paying attention and then taking precaution. Earplugs and headphones are great to have around for just these moments. In addition, pay attention to the way your body feels. Are your ears ringing or is there pain? If so, take a quiet break for a few minutes to rest your ears. And instead of heading back into the melee of your noisy situation, be it fireworks display or rock concert, perhaps hang back at the edges where your sensitive hearing system will have a bit of a reprieve.
Get tested and intervene if necessary
If hearing loss has already become apparent in your life, take the next step and schedule a hearing test with us at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions. Once you are working with a reliable diagnosis, you can begin to investigate intervention. Hearing aids can significantly increase the quality of life and our team can ensure a painless and rewarding process.