Hearing loss is a growing concern in the world today, and a lot of it has to do with the noisy environment we live and work in. One-time exposure to an intensely loud sound (such as an explosion) or continuous exposure to loud sounds can irreparably damage your hearing. Here’s what you should know about noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), and how to protect your hearing.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
NIHL is caused when our ears are exposed to loud noises, especially above 85 decibels. It can be temporary or permanent, can affect one ear or both ears and can happen at any age. A recent study at the Institute of Environmental Health in Vienna, Austria, found that some people are more susceptible to NIHL than others. This may be due to the variations in which the inner ear reacts to loud noises, particularly how quickly the cells of the inner ear recover from noise exposure. The institute has also come up with a test to determine whether a person is more likely to suffer permanent NIHL. Regardless of the probability factor, there is no doubt that exposure to noise is harmful to the ears.
The bad news is that NIHL is a growing public health challenge. The good news is that it is preventable to a large extent. If you work in a noisy environment, it’s important to take frequent ‘quiet breaks’, where you can shut off all the noise. After your ears have been exposed to loud noise, they need some time for recovery. If your work environment is noisy, avoid noisy leisure activities, such as loud games or music. Basic ear protection is also a must. Earplugs are easily available and are not very expensive. Or you can invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. If excessive noise is an occupational hazard, speak to your employer and find out ways in which you can protect your hearing while at work. It is also important to get your hearing tested at regular intervals to make sure that there is no deterioration.
What You Can Do
If you’re concerned about NIHL (and you should be), drop by at your neighbourhood Leightons Hearing Care branch. Our qualified and fully trained audiologists can help you select the right kind of hearing protection products, keeping in mind your lifestyle and the level of noise you’re exposed to on a regular basis. Our products include everything from basic earplugs to customised hearing protection. Our custom-fit earplugs are produced by taking impressions of your ear, so they fit perfectly and provide the maximum comfort. We also carry the Elacin ER series, also known as the musician’s earplug. So whether you play in the local rock band or are a classical musician, these plugs protect your hearing, while maintaining sound clarity. Visit our store and try out the earplugs for yourself. While you’re there, why not take a free hearing test as well? Call us on 0800 40 20 20 or book an appointment online.