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Everyday Activities That Could Harm Your Hearing

man wearing protective gear while cutting wood in shop

People usually experience hearing loss primarily due to an underlying medical condition. However, there are other factors you may not have considered or even believed could have cost you your sense of hearing. From research conducted by the John Hopkins Center for Hearing and Public Health, about 38.2 million Americans have varying degrees of hearing loss. The statistic indicated here should be enough to spark interest in why you must take steps to ensure your hearing protection.

Listening to loud sounds through headphones and earbuds

Earbuds and headphones are designed to have sound play directly into the ears. These personal listening devices have become commonplace for decades now but could cause harm when not properly adjusted. Without realizing the long-term implications, people expose their ears to loud sounds set at high volumes for entertainment purposes. This is what you should know about headphones; they can transmit sounds to levels exceeding 100dBA. If this is a daily routine, a user can experience some form of hearing loss in just a few years.

Most importantly, the younger generation is more at risk because they tend to use these personal listening devices regularly and at high volumes. To be on the safer side, make a deliberate effort to ensure your hearing protection. Do this by setting the device’s volume to 50% or below the midline. 

If it’s impossible to detect the actual healthy sound levels you need, use this simple trick. Set your device to a level that allows you to hear the external environment around you. Also, you’ll find it beneficial to take frequent listening breaks from your device to enable your ears to recover from excessive sound exposure.

Musical concerts

Indeed, musical concerts, rock shows, and loud onstage pop acts are fun to watch on any given day. However, frequent attendance at these kinds of entertainment events can impact your hearing over time. You’d have already noticed that these events have one thing in common; deafening sounds. 

Have you ever experienced a ringing sensation in your ears immediately after exposure to a loud bang? Imagine this happening consistently or more often than usual. Medically, this ringing sensation (tinnitus) could be a presumptive sign of early-stage hearing loss.

Usually, an audiologist would advise that you have some earplugs on your list of essentials for your hearing protection at loud concerts. One way to know if you were exposed to dangerous sound levels after a concert is to check for specific things. Do you perceive a ringing sensation in your ears? If yes, then that rock show may have impacted your ears more than you’d have thought.

Working with power tools without hearing protection

Miners, construction workers, and other professionals who require power tools to perform daily tasks are often exposed to loud noise. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to enforce sound exposure regulations in workplaces. With a particular focus on construction and mining sites, workers are also responsible for ensuring their personal hearing protection. 

For your daily activities such as mowing the lawn, drilling a hole into the wall or engaging in a carpentry project at home, it’s advisable to take precautionary steps too. You can reduce the noise by wearing earmuffs while staying alert about your immediate environment as well. This also helps to protect the cochlea.

What is the Cochlea?

This organ bears a striking resemblance of a snail shell and contains: 

  • Nerve pathways
  • Fluid
  • Countless minuscule hair cells

When sound travels into the inner ear, it activates the cochlea. This, in turn, stimulates hair cells to convert soundwaves into electric signals. When these signals reach the brain, we can process the sound and interpret what we heard.

This complex mechanism thrives on a series of processes, and therefore when there’s damage, hearing can become compromised. More so, unlike the hair cells on other parts of the body, the ones in the inner ear don’t regenerate.

Noise-related hearing loss can be gradual or instant, depending on the level of decibels you were exposed to. Some can begin even at levels of 75dB. If you’re already experiencing some degree of hearing loss, your audiologist will recommend the right hearing device for you. It could be a device worn in the canal (ITC), in the ear (ITE) or behind the ear (BTE). Indeed, the audiologist’s recommendations will be based on what suits your lifestyle as well. Just in case you desire to have your hearing checked, call Siouxland Hearing Healthcare P.L.C at (712) 258-3332.