Could our modern lifestyle be putting us as greater risk of hearing loss? The simple answer is, yes. From MP3s to headphones, today’s generations like to stay up-to-date with the latest gadgets and devices. However, research has shown that our love for music and technology (or more specifically, our love for blasting music through technology) is putting younger generations at a greater risk of incurring hearing damage from noise exposure. But how much noise is too much noise? And how can we prevent that premature need for hearing devices?
How noise-induced hearing loss occurs
Ever experienced ringing in your ears after a concert or night out? These symptoms of hearing loss frequently occur after temporary noise exposure, but will often disappear after a few hours. However, if this kind of noise exposure continues regularly over time, it could result in more permanent hearing damage. The ears are incredibly delicate systems, and are lined with small sensory hair cells that help transmit noise signals to the brain. Exposure to loud music can weaken these hairs over time, eventually causing irreversible damage. If you begin to notice symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss, such as difficulty hearing conversations, tinnitus or muffled hearing, you should seek professional advice from your Perth audiologists.
When do sounds become dangerous?
Whilst there are regulations in place to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in high-risk environments such as the construction industry, many people remain unaware of the dangers of noise exposure in their everyday lives. In reality, any loud noise can pose a threat to one’s hearing if it exceeds the safe volume limit. In fact, any noise exceeding 85 decibels can be dangerous for our hearing when listened to over a prolonged period of time. Given that many MP3s can reach a peak volume of over 100 decibels, you may want to think again before cranking up the volume to maximum. As a rule of thumb – the louder the sound, the less time you should be exposing yourselves to it.
How to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss
Although there are no regulations in place to prevent noise exposure outside the workplace, there are a number of steps you can take as an individual to protect your ears from noise-related hearing loss.
Keep the volume at a safe level – Now that you know what constitutes a safe level of noise, it’s important to be aware of the volume level to which you’re exposing yourself. Whilst it can be tempting to turn up the volume on your MP3 to block out sounds around you, try to avoid that maximum volume level. If you’re at a concert or on a night out, you want to stay away from speakers and anything that amplifies the sounds around you.
Wear adequate hearing protection – Whether you’re a musician, a concert-goer or an avid MP3-listener, one of the best things you can do to prevent hearing damage is to wear sufficient hearing protection. Custom ear plugs are probably your best option if you like listening to music, as these help seal out background noises so you don’t need to crank up the volume in the first place. At The Art of Hearing audiology clinics in Perth, we offer custom earplugs for musicians and concert-goers who need to hear sounds, but at a safe level.
Give your ears a break – It’s not just sudden noise exposure that can cause damage to your hearing. When listening to loud noises over a longer period of time, it’s important to give your ears a chance to recover. Make sure you take adequate breaks from listening to your MP3 to reduce your chance of developing hearing loss.
Protect your ears with The Art of Hearing
If you’re exposed to loud sounds and music on a regular basis as a result of your work or hobbies, make sure you protect your hearing. At The Art of Hearing audiology clinics, we offer a range of hearing services and solutions to suit your individual lifestyle. Whether it’s hearing protection or a hearing test you need, our experienced audiologists can help you find a hearing solution that meets your needs.
For more information about our hearing solutions, or to find out more about out custom hearing protection, contact us via the Art of Hearing website or give us a call on (08) 93908 811.