Posted on Wednesday, May 08, 2013

How to Protect Hearing

Protect hearing from things like fireworks.

Hearing loss can happen in an instant or slowly due to overexposure to loud noise. These dangers can increase during summer activities. It’s not just the loud outdoor concerts, but swimming, diving, fireworks, and common yard work activities that can damage hearing instantly or over time. There are things everyone should know about protecting their and their loved ones hearing during summer months.

Summer Sounds
According to the National Institute on Health (NIH) , “Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.” And sounds above that like a firecracker that measures around 130 decibels can cause immediate damage to ears. It’s important that people purchase hearing protection when going to fireworks shows or if setting fireworks off in the backyard. Most neighborhood pharmacies carry packs of ear protects and they are a lot less expensive than hearing loss. If you find that you are constantly exposed to loud noises, even exposure to lawnmowers and boats can cause hearing loss when listened to over a few hours, you might want to consider getting custom made ear protection made.

What Causes Noise Induced Hearing Loss?
Inside the ear are small, delicate hairs that help conduct the noise that constitutes your hearing. Injury to these hair cells comes from exposure, sudden or prolonged, to loud noises like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and fireworks at close range. Protecting hearing during these activities by wearing protective listening devices can help prevent hearing loss now and into the future.

Symptoms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss

  • Tinnitus is defined as a nagging buzzing, whistling, whining, or screeching noise in head or ears that varies in intensity and can be intermittent or constant. Some tinnitus sufferers describe the noise as being as piercing and sharp as the signal used in the emergency broadcast system.
  • Muffled sounds can happen directly after coming into contact with loud noises and if this condition fades, there is usually little to worry about, but if the muffled sensation doesn’t disappear after an extended time, you should call your audiologist and make an emergency appointment. The sooner you care for your hearing, the better the outcome will be.
  • Unfortunately hearing loss is sometimes hard to recognize. Silence is less abrasive the sound, and so people often are not aware of the sounds or level of sounds that they are missing. Often hearing loss will become evident in a crowded restaurant or social event, but in these places people are more likely to blame the acoustics or background noise than their own hearing. That's why it's important to have your hearing checked by a professional, with advanced equipment.

    Water and the Ears
    The presence of fluid in the inner ear can cause hearing loss in addition to other symptoms like ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vertigo, nausea and vomiting. Most of the time water will make its way out of the ear naturally or through home remedies, but occasionally water becomes lodged behind the eardrum causing pain and infection. If left untreated, this infection could cause permanent hearing loss. Especially for children, wearing earplugs when swimming can protect hearing by helping to prevent infections and painful bouts of swimmer's ear.

    Barotitis Media is caused by pressure within the ear. One of the reasons for this condition is the difference in pressure on the inside and outside of the eardrum during underwater diving, scuba diving. This pressure or what is called a "squeeze" can cause the eardrum to burst. There are preventative measures divers can take to equalize ear pressure and avoid this kind of injury. Make sure to protect your hearing this summer by being properly instructed before undertaking any underwater scuba diving.

    Protecting your hearing this summer can be as simple as wearing custom earplugs when mowing, attending concerts, working with machinery or engaging in other noisy activities. Earplugs for water sports and activities can keep water from the ears, protecting your ears while helping to prevent your body reacting to cold water conditions through exotosis. An audiologist can provide custom fit protective molds for your ears. Custom fit means more comfort and a greater chance of use, but that's not the only reason to see an audiologist.

    Regular checkups with your audiologist are as important as regular checkups with your eye doctor. Your sense of hearing is a precious gift that needs to be maintained through proper care and prevention. Summer sounds and activities damage hearing, so take precautions and see an audiologist to head off any hearing health problems before they happen. If you don't already have one, click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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