Surprising everyday hearing hazards
Whilst workplace hearing hazards are well regulated in Western Australia, this isn’t the only noise source responsible for the increase in hearing loss cases amongst Australians. In fact, it’s often the recreational noises that Australians unknowingly expose themselves to on a daily basis that can cause significant hearing loss.
Whilst sound is an integral part of our daily lives, frequently exposing yourself to dangerously high levels of noise can lead to irreversible damage to the auditory system, leaving young Australians in need of a hearing solution before they hit middle-age. So what are these ‘hidden’ hearing hazards we may be exposing ourselves to?
Have you ever walked past a construction site and noticed construction workers wearing ear protection? This is because construction workers are surrounded by loud noises from power tools and heavy machinery which could cause hearing damage over time if left unregulated. Whilst the WA government has enforced legislation to protect workers from noise hazards in such environments, we often don’t take the same precautions at home or when out and about. Electric saws and hammers can produce over 100 dB of noise, which is enough to cause hearing damage with frequent or long exposure. If you regularly undertake DIY work, you may want to consider protecting your hearing with custom earplugs from your local audiologist.
iPods and music players
Whilst modern technology certainly has its perks, our love for modern media can also pose somewhat of a hearing hazard when not regulated properly. Listening devices with earphones can reach damaging noises of up to 130 dB, leading to potential hearing loss over time. As a rule of thumb, follow the 60/60 rule – listen to your music at 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
No doubt you are familiar with the common household item, the cotton bud. Whilst not noise-related, cotton buds have become a common hearing hazard due to their increasing use for at-home ear wax removal (so much so that many people even call them earbuds). In reality, this at-home solution can actually do a lot more harm than good, pushing ear wax deeper into the ear canal and further blocking the ears as a result. If you’ve been experiencing a feeling of fullness in your ears or sounds are becoming muffled and distorted, your Perth audiologist will be able to assess whether an earwax blockage is to blame.
Whilst busy traffic and rush hour isn’t something we can always avoid, constant exposure to sounds such as motorcycle engines and heavy traffic can become a hearing hazard if particularly long and frequent. If you are driving during heavy traffic and noise becomes excessive, take precautions such as driving with the windows up to reduce noise exposure. And make sure you keep a tab on the radio volume!
Professional advice from your Perth audiologists
Whether you’re experiencing early signs of hearing loss or looking for ways to protect your ears against noise-related hearing damage, the Perth audiologists at The Art of Hearing clinics can offer you the advice and solutions you need to protect and prolong your hearing.
To book an appointment with our Perth audiologists or to find out more about our custom hearing protection, visit The Art of Hearing website or call us on (08) 9390 8811.