Did you know hearing loss from noise exposure is 100% preventable? Approximately 5.2 million adolescents ages 6-19 have hearing loss induced by excessive noise exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Noise exposure has increased primarily from early exposure to loud level sounds from music, gaming systems and the like.
With noise-induced hearing loss, the results may be sudden or may take time to develop. You may know you have been exposed to sound that is too loud if you notice a ringing or buzzing in your ears after being exposed to the loud noise, or you may also notice a temporary fluctuation in your hearing abilities. Unlike a broken arm or nose, hearing loss is permanent and cannot be fixed with a cast or surgery. Hearing is vital to our well-being, and untreated hearing loss has been linked to health-related issues such as hypertension and depression. So protect that critical sense of hearing!
How do I protect my ears?
- Increase the distance from the noise source to your ears, or walk away. For concert-goers, stand further away from the main speakers.
- Wear hearing protection correctly in the ears. Make sure earplugs or headphones are positioned correctly in the ears for maximum attenuation of loudness. Most earplugs will have a Noise-Reduction-Rating (NRR) of 29dB, which will help lower the volume to less harmful listening levels. The higher the NRR rating, the more noise it will attenuate.
- Turn the noise down.
Hearing protection is easy to get. Your local pharmacy stores, grocery stores or audiologist can offer these to you at a low cost. Hearing protection comes in all different forms: earplugs, custom-made ear plugs and headphones.
Make sure to place the earplugs in your ears correctly. By using earplugs, it does not decrease the quality of sound, it just reduces the overall loudness.
Enjoy the concerts during concert season, just be smart about protecting and preserving your hearing abilities. Remember, conversation connects us to people, and hearing loss that goes untreated can disrupt that connection. Prevent noise induced hearing loss by wearing hearing protection.