Preventing noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is the slow loss of hearing caused by too much noise. Hearing loss happens when too much noise hurts the hair cells in the inner ear.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common causes of nerve deafness. As many as 10 million Americans have this kind of hearing problem.
Noise-induced hearing loss lasts forever. Hearing aids can help, but they can’t fully correct it.
This kind of hearing loss can be prevented by staying away from loud and long noises.
Repeated exposure to loud noise and even a one-time exposure to loud noise can damage the delicate, sound-sensitive hair cells in your inner ear. This type of hearing loss is irreversible but preventable. To protect your hearing:
• Lower the volume on your TV and stereo
Choose personal stereos with an automatic volume limiter.
• Turn down the volume on headphones
By directing sound into your ear, headphones can produce
levels loud enough to damage your hearing. Hold your headset an arm’s length away. If you can hear the sound, the volume is probably too high.
• Muffle the sound
Noise can be damaging if you have to raise your voice to be
heard by someone an arm’s length away. Wear earplugs or earmuffs when you’re around noisy tools, equipment or firearms. Use commercially made devices that meet federal standards. Make sure the protectors fit snugly. Don’t use cotton earplugs. They’re ineffective and can become lodged in your ear canal.
• Have your hearing tested
If you’re frequently around loud noise, have your hearing
checked annually. A hearing test can detect mild hearing loss before the damage is obvious or disabling.