In honor of “Better Hearing Month”, we want to discuss how to save your ears from noise damage. Although hearing loss as a result of noise exposure is very common in individuals of all ages, it is 100% preventable. However, once hearing loss is acquired it is permanent and irreversible.Noise damage can happen in the workplace, but it can also happen in a number of other environments. When you are at a concert, mowing your lawn, listening to your iPod, riding your motorcycle, hunting, cutting down a tree, etc. you are not thinking about the impact that the noise will have on your hearing in the future. Each time you are exposed to these sounds it is causing damage to your hearing, but the impact is not obvious right away. It happens cumulatively over the years and when you notice a problem, the damage is done.
Since the damage is irreversible and not evident until it is too late, it is very important to be proactive about your hearing health care. Whenever you are around any type of noise, you need to wear your hearing protection. When you are listening to your iPod, it should be low enough so that you can still have a conversation with someone while your ear buds are in you ears.
The two most common types of hearing protection are disposable foam plugs and reusable custom plugs. It has been reported that individuals who have custom hearing protection tend to use it more frequently as it is more comfortable. Additionally, custom hearing protection can be designed to improve the ability to communicate without needing to remove the plugs. It is well known that the risk of removing hearing protection for communication purposes, even for just a short period of time each day, can significantly reduce its effectiveness.
Every patient who ends up in hearing aids as a result of noise damage wishes they understood the consequences of hearing loss much earlier. It is our goal to spread the word to everyone – young and old – to help reduce the number of individuals with noise-induced hearing loss in the future.