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  • Writer's pictureWidex Emirates Hearing Care

7 Tips That Help Protect You from Noise Induced Hearing Loss

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We experience different sounds in our everyday life such as the sounds of TV, radio and traffic. These sounds don’t usually harm our ears. However, there are other sounds that are too loud and last for a long time. These hurt our ears and damage sensitive structures in the inner ear, causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

NIHL is usually caused by a one-time exposure to an intense and strong sound such as an explosion or by repetitive exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time. Such examples include attending loud concerts, listening to music at high volume through earbuds or headphones, playing in a band, riding motorcycles or hunting and shooting. Having jobs in noisy environments such as mining, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, construction, carpentry and military also put you under high risk of having NIHL. The louder and higher the sound, the shorter and faster the amount of time it takes for NIHL to start.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be directly revealed, or it can take long time to be noticeable. It can be permanent or temporary and it can affect people of all ages. Regardless of how it’s affecting you, one thing is certain: you can prevent it. If you know the source of the noise and how to avoid it, you can protect your hearing for life. Here are some tips and guidelines that will aid in preventing NIHL:

1. Identify the source of loud sounds.

Understand what types of sounds can harm your hearing. This will help notice them when exposed to them and take action. Such signs should be a red flag that the noise you are hearing is too loud: shouting to be heard, not understanding someone speaking to you from less than 3 feet away, having pain or ringing in your ear after you hear the sound.

2. Limit your exposure to extremely loud sounds.

Move away from sounds that you know might harm your ears. Give your ears some break. Try to spend as little time near noise as possible. This step is a must for people who work in noisy places or who go to and from work in noisy traffic.

3. Turn down the volume on devices.

Reduce the volume of music, radio or TV when using them. Be aware how loud your music is. You should set the volume to a comfortable level to ensure a safe listening level.

4. Wear hearing protection devices in loud environments.

Develop the habit of using protective devices such as earphones, earmuffs or earplugs when you are not able to avoid loud sounds or when participating in loud activities. This includes sounds louder than 85 dB. Different brands offer a wide variety of protection. If you are not sure what device to use or how to use correctly, ask your doctor or audiologist.

5. Seek auditory tests regularly and consistently.

Your audiologist will evaluate your tests and determine whether you are having hearing problems. They will ask about specific symptoms and try to reduce them especially if there is concern about possible or potential hearing loss.

6. Protect the hearing of your children.

The rapid increase in earphone and earplug use among kids and teenagers mean that they are at risk too. Help your young children protect their ears until they’re old enough to do so by themselves. Education is the key point to prevention. Talk to your kids or teens about hearing loss and its consequences. This will change their listening habits and thus protect their hearing.

7. Don’t try to mask unwanted noise with other high sounds.

Introducing other calm sounds in the background to mask noise that is bothering is effective. However, when you use loud sounds to mask also high and loud sounds, this will have a counter effect on you. Don’t turn up the volume on your car radio for example to avoid the traffic outside. Don’t increase the volume of your TV when vacuuming. This will not give you the desired outcome you wish for. On the contrary, it will cause more irritation and disruption to the ear.

We are becoming more and more exposed to excessive noise in our daily life. As a result, our hearing is being constantly and hugely affected. Because noise-induced hearing loss cannot be completely cured, preventive measures and early intervention should be taken into consideration. Protect your hearing. Start today!

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