Although it may not get as much attention as other causes, experts are warning about a worldwide crises related to hearing loss. Ordinarily, we think of hearing problems as a byproduct of advanced age; as you get older, your hearing naturally starts to decline. While age-related hearing loss is certainly a problem, nowadays the greater risk is actually noise-induced hearing loss.
As the name implies, noise-induced hearing loss occurs when your ears are exposed to excessively loud noises for a protracted period of time. The nerves within your ear that pick up on sounds and carry them to the brain are more delicate than you probably realize. By exposing these nerves to sounds that are too loud, you can actually cause permanent damage, limiting the nerves' ability to relay auditory information to the brain. And worst of all, once this damage occurs, there is no way to repair it.
What Sounds Pose the Greatest Dangers?
One of the greatest sources of noise-induced hearing loss is the workplace. People who work on farms, in factories or in construction zones are all exposed to noise levels that are sufficient enough to cause hearing loss. If you currently work in a job where noise pollution runs rampant, you should take steps to protect your ears. Purchase a pair of earbuds or headphones to cancel out the noise around you so that you can work safely.
Another common source of noise-induced hearing loss, especially nowadays, are personal music-listening devices, such as iPods, smartphones and MP3 players. The vast majority of these devices are capable of blasting music at a volume that can damage your hearing, and with Millennials being constantly plugged into devices, experts have started to notice a troubling spike of noise-induced hearing loss among 18- to 30-year-olds.
In order to avoid this type of hearing loss, make sure you limit your exposure to personal listening devices. Generally, a good rule of thumb is the 60/60 rule, which encourages people to listen to their devices at no more than 60% volume for no longer than 60 minutes at a time. Practicing this type of moderation will help you to preserve your hearing.
Early Intervention is Key
When it comes to hearing loss, early intervention is important. Getting regular hearing exams can help you keep track of any noticeable loss of hearing, as well as allow you to implement corrective measures, such as using hearing aids.
Most experts recommend getting your first hearing screening at age 50, with subsequent exams every five to ten years. However, given the recent outbreak of noise-induced hearing loss, especially among young people, earlier screenings may be necessary. If you suspect that you may be experiencing hearing loss, look for a trained audiologist in your area and schedule a hearing exam immediately.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!