October is National Protect Your Hearing Month!

October 3, 2011 Brenna Carroll

Noise exposure causes permanent hearing loss, and it is 100% preventable!

Hearing loss from noise exposure can occur at any age. Over 36 million Americans experience hearing loss… an amount over four times larger than the entire population of New York City! Over 18 million of those Americans with hearing loss are under the age of 65.

Today’s modern world is full of everyday objects that emit hazardous levels of noise. Exposure to noise louder than 85 dB is considered loud enough to potentially damage hearing. Consider your exposure to these common sounds that exceed 85 dB:

  • 90 dB: Hair dryer, lawn mower
  • 100 dB: MP3 Player at full volume
  • 110 dB: Concerts and sporting events
  • 130 dB: Ambulance

Your hearing can be permanently damaged after exposure from a single event of loud noise. Signs of damage from noise exposure include ringing in the ears, a plugged or “cotton feeling” in the ears and feeling as if others are mumbling while speaking. The use of some medications may make some individuals more susceptible to noise induced hearing loss.

You can prevent damage from noise by limiting your exposure to loud sounds. The following actions can reduce the likelihood of developing hearing loss from noise:

  • Walk away from the noise source. Reducing your distance from a source of noise by even 10 to 15 feet can significantly reduce the decibel level that reaches the ear.
  • Turn down the volume. It is advisable to listen to your television, radio and MP3 players at 50% or less of the devices maximum capacity. If you are wearing headphones while listening to a personal music player, it is too loud if those sitting next to you can also hear the music.
  • Wear hearing protection!

Hearing protection ranges from small, non-custom foam plugs and earmuffs to custom devices. Different activities may have different noise protection needs. Special customized devices can be made specifically for shooting enthusiasts, musicians, pilots and those exposed to dental drills. Hearing protection can be worn discreetly or as a fashion statement!



For more information about noise induced hearing loss, visit www.howsyourhearing.org

Please contact an audiologist if you are interested in obtaining customized hearing protection or if you suspect you have hearing loss and would like a hearing evaluation.

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