FACT: Hearing loss is the 3rd most common chronic condition facing adults in the U.S, and 1 in every 4 Americans suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by either a one-time exposure to a brief and intense sound, or by continuous exposure to loud noise over a long period of time. Sounds (how loud they are) are measured by its decibel level (dB). A dB of 85 and above can cause noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter amount of time it takes to develop noise-induced hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Prevention is Important
Everyday environments can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. It’s important to be aware of the average decibel levels that surround you on a daily basis. You may not even know some places could be putting your hearing at risk.
Here’s a list of 4 common places that may cause noise-induced hearing loss, as well as some tips on how to protect your hearing:
Did you know that occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related ailments in the U.S.? Many people are exposed to hazardous workplace noise on a daily basis. There are many jobs, such as construction, working at an airport or even musicians, that can be really hard on the ears.
Wear proper hearing protection, such as industrial grade earplugs or earmuffs. Try to limit your exposure to loud noise outside of your workday.
Large / Busy Cities
If you live or work in a city, you can be exposed to anywhere from 60 dB to 110 dB of sound, and big cities all over are already trying to create a safer “hearing” environment for all who work and live within city limits. New York City has even begun a 5-year study to monitor the sounds of Manhattan in an effort to identify unhealthy noise levels. There are even innovations being tested out, such as “quiet concrete“ in Texas.
Simply be more mindful of your surroundings and reduce your exposure to loud noises as much as possible. If necessary, ask your local hearing care professional about available hearing protection products that may help you based on your specific environment.
It has been identified that excessive noise as one of the top complaints from people dining out. Just to give you an idea, here are some common decibel levels when dining out:
- 80 dB in a dimly lit wine bar
- 86 dB at a food court during lunch hours
- 90 dB at a bar / brew pub on a Friday night during happy hour
Remember this, if you need to shout so the person across the table from you can hear, you’re likely being exposed to too much “loud” noise.
“There’s an app for that!” There is an app which is available on your smartphone (it’s called SoundPrint) that allows you to explore “quiet” restaurant venues in your city. The list or venues are actually curated by other users who want to protect their hearing as well. So if you don’t see you favorite “quiet” place on the app, you can add it yourself.
For most people, loud music is a part of the concert experience. But as you may already know, high volume levels from loudspeakers can lead to noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus, with sounds hitting up to 120 db at some concerts.
FACT: According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, more than 15 minutes of exposure at this level can cause hearing loss or tinnitus.
Follow these tips when you attend your next concert:
- Choose your seat wisely – Consider seat proximity to speakers when choosing your spot. Try to site at a reasonable distance from the stage and array of loudspeakers. While the front row offers the best view, it is the worst place for your ears.
- Use hearing protection – Consider using noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs when attending a loud concert. Usually, volume levels are so high that you will still be able to enjoy the music while wearing hearing protection.
- Check & be aware of the decibel levels – There are mobile apps available that allow you to check volume levels at concerts. If it is too loud, make an attempt to move to a quieter area.
- Take a break – If you simply must experience loud music without hearing protection, try to limit your exposure. Even a 1-minute break from the action can give your ears a rest and help prevent hearing damage.
Remember, noise-induced hearing loss is preventable!
Consult with the Hearing Experts at Kenwood Hearing Center
Still have questions? If you would like to speak with an experienced hearing care professional about hearing loss prevention or anything else related to your hearing health, contact us today and schedule an appointment.