Cedar Audiology Associates - Cleveland, OH

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion people are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss, generated by exposure to excessive sound levels from personal audio devices and noisy environments such as nightclubs, bars, concerts, and sporting events. An projected 26 million Americans already suffer from the condition.

If noise-induced hearing loss results from being exposed to elevated sound levels, then what is regarded as excessive? It turns out that any sound more than 85 decibels is potentially dangerous, and regretfully, many of our normal activities expose us to sounds well above this limit. An MP3 player at maximum volume, for instance, reaches 105 decibels, and police sirens can reach 130.

So is hearing loss an inevitable outcome of our over-amplified life? Not if you make the right choices, because it also turns out that noise-induced hearing loss is 100{cdb78ae2d183aa312f4188be7f6bc8f99bbda397365b47ecb6e1dcf848d64ae2} preventable.

Here are six ways you can save your hearing:

1. Use custom earplugs

The ideal way to prevent hearing loss is to stay away from loud noise completely. Of course, for most people that would entail leaving their jobs and ditching their plans to watch their favorite band perform live in concert.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to live like a hermit to salvage your hearing. If you’re subjected to loud noise at work, or if you plan on going to a live performance, rather than avoiding the noise you can lower its volume with earplugs. One approach is to buy a cheap pair of foam earplugs at the convenience store, understanding that they will almost certainly create muffled sound. There is a better option.

Today, a number of custom earplugs are obtainable that fit comfortably in the ear. Custom earplugs are molded to the contours of your ear for maximum comfort, and they feature advanced electronics that reduce sound volume evenly across frequencies so that music and speech can be heard clearly and naturally. Contact your local hearing professional for more information.

2. Maintain a safe distance from the sound source

The inverse square law, as applied to sound, says that as you double the distance from the source of sound the intensity of the sound falls by 75{cdb78ae2d183aa312f4188be7f6bc8f99bbda397365b47ecb6e1dcf848d64ae2}. This law of physics could quite possibly save your hearing at a rock concert; rather than standing front row adjacent to the speaker system, increase your distance as much as possible, weighing the benefits of a good view versus a safe distance.

3. Take rest breaks for your ears

Hearing impairment from subjection to loud sound is dependent on three factors:

  1. the sound level or intensity
  2. your distance from the sound source
  3. the length of time you’re subjected to the sound

You can lower the intensity level of sound with earplugs, you can increase your distance from the sound source, and you can also limit your cumulative length of exposure by taking rest breaks from the sound. If you’re at a concert or in a recording studio, for instance, remember to give your ears routine breaks and time to recover.

4. Turn down the music – follow the 60/60 rule

If you often listen to music from a portable MP3 player, make sure you keep the volume no higher that 60{cdb78ae2d183aa312f4188be7f6bc8f99bbda397365b47ecb6e1dcf848d64ae2} of the maximum volume for no longer than 60 minutes per day. Higher volume and longer listening times multiply the risk of irreversible damage.

5. Purchase noise-canceling headphones

The 60/60 rule is difficult, if not impossible to stick to in certain listening environments. In the presence of very loud background noise, like in a busy city, you have to turn up the volume on your MP3 player to hear the music over the surrounding noise.

The solution? Noise-cancelling headphones. These headphones can filter background sounds so that you can enjoy your music without violating the 60/60 rule.

6. Schedule regular hearing exams

It’s never too early or too late to set up a hearing assessment. In addition to being able to diagnose present hearing loss, a hearing test can also establish a baseline for future comparison.

Since hearing loss develops gradually, it is difficult to notice. For the majority of people, the only way to know if hearing loss is present is to have a professional hearing examination. But you shouldn’t wait until after the harm is done to schedule an appointment; prevention is the best medicine, and your local hearing specialist can provide personal hearing protection solutions so that you can avoid hearing loss altogether.

Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today