Noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss

I carry ear plugs in my purse because I’m sometimes put into loud situations. When I volunteered at my high school alumni week, my booth was right near the loudspeakers and after four hours, I had such a headache. 

2017 Journey concert

Sometimes my work brings me to political elections, and there’s a lot of noise for a long time. Sometimes I’m on a military base listening to gunshots or jet engines.

That’s why I think hearing protection is important. Ball State University audiologist Lynn Bielski urges people to protect their hearing. “We live in a noisy world. Our hearing is one of our senses that we, as humans, often take for granted. Excessively loud noise, music, or other sound exposure will damage our hearing and we need to take responsibility and protect it, says Bielski, an assistant professor of audiology.”

“Sounds louder than 80 decibels have the potential to cause permanent damage. Yet, noise created by fireworks, traffic, concerts and landscaping equipment ranges between 90 and 140 decibels,” she says.

“Similar to wearing a helmet when riding a bike, or a seat belt in a vehicle, hearing protection is critical safety equipment when going to a concert, a fireworks display, or an auto race,” Bielski says.  “Children are also at risk for hearing damage from noise exposure.”

Recent studies find about 12.5% or 5.2 million children have hearing loss caused by noise exposure. Parents and caregivers can help children insert foam or rubber earplugs, or use earmuffs to curb exposure.

Signs of exposure to hazardous noise include:
You can’t understand someone talking two feet away.
Speech around you sound muffled.
You have a pain or ringing in the ears immediately following the exposure.
Others must raise their voices to be understood.

After exposure to loud sounds, people may notice things sound muffled, or perceive ringing in their ears. This typically goes away after a few hours. However, new research reveals irreversible damage has already been done to the auditory system, says Bielski.

This type of damage may not result in noticeable hearing difficulty to the individual, so it has been called “hidden hearing loss.” Hearing loss due to noise exposure is preventable.

Strategies for reducing hearing damage due to noise include: reducing the loudness of the noise; get further away from the noise, and wearing hearing protection.

Can you hear me now? Good.

Author(s) on this Post

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. She freelance writes for NMG Network's magazines. In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She volunteers as a board member of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a Shinto shrine maiden at Daijingyu Temple, a citizen-scientist studying shrimp, and a yoga teacher at a senior center.

Diane Ako has 274 posts and counting. See all posts by Diane Ako

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