Many of us believe that hearing loss is simply a natural process which occurs as you age. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD) released some interesting stats in late 2016 confirming this connection between aging and hearing loss, it stated:
Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults aged 20-69, with the greatest amount of hearing loss in the 60 to 69 age group.”
About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss…”
Feeling a bit at a loss?
Thinking you can’t do anything more than sit back and wait for your hearing to weaken?
Think again! Of course there are other reasons than simply aging that affect our ear health and we’re here to share with you some of them.
Other Causes Of Hearing Loss
According to The Better Hearing Institute, “aging is not the only cause of hearing loss; sudden onset, extensive noise exposure, injury of the head or ear area, genetics, reactions to drugs or cancer treatments and infections also account for a large percentage of hearing loss throughout the population.”
Aging is one of the lesser causes of loss of hearing we should be focused on.
What this means is that much of our ear health actually can be controlled directly by the lifestyles we live and the care and attention we pay to protecting our ears.
Therefore, for all of you over the age of so called ‘old’ let us tell you that hearing loss is not something you just need to let happen and then accept.
Of course, as you age your hearing may not be as good as it once was but that doesn’t mean it has to arrive to the point where you can barely hear at all.
Exposure To Loud Noise Hurts:
We’ll share with you some tips on how you can protect your ears from damage by use of hearing protection and touch on the connection between hearing loss and extensive exposure to loud noise.
Of all of the known causes of hearing loss, one of the only ones we have control over is our exposure to loud noise. We can measure loudness in decibels and with this, we can know whether a noise fits into the danger zone for excess noise.
Many governmental approved sources indicate that sounds exceeding 85 decibels can cause hearing loss or tinnitus.
Check out this helpful infographic with an interactive click through demo on the sounds in our environment and their decibel level, we’ll touch on some below. I think we’re all guilty of thinking that the normal sounds in our everyday environment won’t have long term negative effects on our hearing.
To put things into perspective, here’s a list of some common noises and their decibel level.
Remember: Anything over 85 dB is considered damaging!!!
Protect Your Ears From These Noises…
Take a look below at some of the typical noises that we normally underestimate for being able to cause hearing loss over time.
- Lawnmower (80 – 100dB): Wear ear protection.
- Movie Theatre (70 – 100dB): Sit further back.
- Motorcycles (80 – 110dB): 1 hour riding is enough to cause damage so wear those earplugs!
- Sirens (110 – 129dB): If driving, roll up your window. Walking? Cup your hands over your ears.
- Fireworks (140 – 160dB): Sitting too close to a firework when it goes off can cause fast and permanent hearing loss.
If you didn’t already know the power of noise on your ear health, I hope you see now that even the everyday sounds that surround us do have the potential to cause long term hearing affects which is why ear protection is so important.
The importance of wearing hearing protection is no longer limited to construction workers or similar jobs where exposure to loud noise is constant.
Take a look at 3 of the main types of hearing protection you can invest in to support your ear health through life:
Starting with the most economic of ear protection and probably the only one that people actually have lying around their home.
Ear plugs are easy to find, simple to use, and effective in a moment when you need to pop them in. There are several types of earplugs out such as foam, PVC and disposable. They all perform the same function so choosing the one for you will be based on comfort and convenience.
This type of hearing protection is more for workers who are around constant loud noise. Earmuffs normally consist of a metal or thermoplastic headband, have cushioned cups and an acoustic foam madding that absorbs sound waves.
The type of hearing protection we are speaking about are the larger and foldable type of headphone that has a headband and cushioned cups. Headphones of these kind are often better for listening to music or watching movies as they tend to have a noise cancelling technology which will help protect your ears against hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing:
Now it’s time to act!
Take a look at your own life and ask yourself which sounds make up your daily surroundings.
If they fall into the over 85dB range then you know what to do. Figure out which type of ear protection is best for you in order to minimize the risk of ear damage and improve your chances of maintaining your ear health throughout life.
Author: Josh Roberts
Josh is a long term OHSA consultant in private and public organizations, as well as a strong health and safety advocate, Josh has gained a great respect for proper workplace procedures concerning PPE and other safety measures. His focus, hearing protection, because your hearing is incredibly important and easy to damage. Contact Josh at: Ear Health and Safety Resources
Thank you Josh for sharing. We appreciate it!
Until next time – stay casual,