Everyday noises are a primary cause of hearing loss, and many of us are exposed to excessive noise in our jobs. Construction, machinery, gunfire, concert music blasting and other typical noises are all contributors to hearing loss, and because the loss is so gradual over an extended period of time, we hardly notice.
For excessive occupational noise, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), a division of the Department of Labor has set standard regulations that require ear protection to lessen the exposure. Aside from wearing protective gear all day, let’s consider some other options that will deter and prevent hearing loss. Better Hearing reports that:
- About 10 million of us already have an irreversible hearing impairment, and 30 million are exposed to the unfavorable impacts of hazardous noise. In addition, because the damage is so gradual, most of us underestimate the effects, which can be far reaching.
So, what are we going to do to combat this malady? We can help you out with that question!
Everyday Noisy Sources
Although it’s become so ordinary for many of us, recognizing a hazardous noise is sometimes unnoticed as just normal. So, the first thing we can all do is be more alert of where the risks are located so we can take some protective action. Here are some things to consider:
- Factories are one of the highest risk noisy jobs, and in most cases, OSHA has required your employer to provide you with protective ear gear. If you think you are at risk, you can take the initiative and purchase either headphones or earbuds yourself, or you can talk with your employer about meeting OSHA standards, if they are not in compliance with the criteria, beware that you are entering a potentially controversial zone. Just be aware, you don’t need to back down particularly if you think it is a compliance issue. On your own, sound canceling equipment can run you anywhere from $20 to $100. Another career that is highly exposed is those who work around firearms and firecrackers.
- Recreational noise sources include sporting events, power boats, music concerts, NASCAR, motorcycles, bars and dance clubs.
- Do you really need to blast that surround sound home theater equipment so loud the neighbors can hear the show?
- Check the decibel (dB) rating on your purchases, if you can get a lower rating, great. If not, you will know you need protection.
Now, that you’re aware of places where you may want to consider using protection for your ears, here are some warning signs that are telling you: “Go immediately, do not pass GO and see your hearing care, specialist!” You don’t want to fool around with the precious gift of hearing. If you experience any of these symptoms after being in a highly noisy environment and:
- Have a buzzing or ringing sound in your ear
- You can hear talking, but you are not clearly understanding
- If your ears have a “full” feeling
Please reach out to your hearing care professionals immediately. These could be temporary conditions, and they could be an indication of something more serious. This applies to any age, especially children. Please don’t accept the risk, when experts are available just around the corner.