5 Signs of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and How You Can Prevent It
Noise-induced hearing loss is the slow loss of hearing resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. It is often a permanent hearing impairment that occurs when too much noise hurts the hair cells of the inner ear. Hearing aids can help, but usually they cannot fully correct it. The National Institute of Health reports that about 15 percent of Americans ages 20-69 have high frequency hearing loss related to occupational or leisure activities. While this kind of hearing loss cannot always be fully preventable, there are ways to protect yourself, like staying away from loud and long noises. You can also prevent permanent damage by being aware of the early signs of hearing loss, and monitoring your hearing health by visiting a hearing health care provider. Here are 5 signs of early hearing loss and ways you can prevent permanent damage.
5 Signs of Early Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss usually happens painlessly and slow. For instance, you might notice having trouble hearing people talk, or experience a “ringing” sound in your ears that comes and goes. The most noticeable reported signs of hearing loss include:
- Having trouble hearing other people, especially in crowded rooms
- Having trouble hearing the TV and turning the volume up louder than normal
- Having to ask people to repeat themselves
- Not being able to hear high-pitched sounds like the telephone ringing, an alarm beeping or baby crying
- Ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus)
Prevent hearing loss
There are many factors that might play into your noise exposure and hearing loss risks. However, there are ways to prevent damage, such as making hearing health a part of your lifestyle. Avoid long exposure to loud noises and turn down the volume on your headphones or car radio. Buy power tools with sound controls and if you’re required to be around noises frequently at work, use protection. Hearing protection devices include earplugs, earmuffs and canal caps. These are all easily adaptable and are sold in drugstores and hardware stores. Different brands offer different levels of protection, so check with your doctor if you are unsure what the best one is for you. If you suspect you have hearing loss, have your hearing checked asap to prevent it from getting worse.
Protect your hearing
The easiest way to protect your hearing is to be aware of your surroundings, especially at work. If you notice you are having to shout to co-workers, the noise level could be hurting your ears. Workplaces where sound levels average 85 decibels or higher for more than eight hours a day are required to have programs to save the hearing of workers. They must give away free hearing protection, so take advantage of this.