Letter: Better Hearing Month
Did you know that you can permanently lose your hearing from exposure to loud noise?
Thirty-six million Americans have hearing loss. One in three developed their hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise. This May, Better Hearing Month,I join audiologists across the nation in encouraging Americans to protect their hearing by:
• Wearing hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85dB for a long period of time;
• Turning down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through ear buds and headphones; and
• Walking away from loud noise.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in our inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss.
The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels. Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85 decibels, such as concerts, sporting events, lawnmowers, fireworks, gunshots, custom car stereos at full volume and more. A brief exposure to a very intense sound, such as a gunshot near the ear, can also damage your hearing.
Noise is considered dangerous if you have to shout over background noise to be heard, it is painful to your ears, it makes your ears ring during and after exposure, or if you have decreased or “muffled” hearing for several hours after exposure.
Hearing impairment not only affects your ability to understand speech but it also has a negative impact on your social and emotional well-being. If you suspect you may have hearing loss, make an appointment to see an audiologist. He or she will perform a hearing test to determine the type and severity of hearing loss you may have.
Dr. Daria Stakiw
Owner, Rocky Mountain Audiology, Glenwood Springs and Edwards locations
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