Posted on 11 September 2015.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Not only can noise distract, disturb and interfere with communication and sleep, it can affect your performance, behavior and hearing.
In many cases, hearing loss can be prevented by recognizing sources of damaging noise levels and using appropriate protective equipment. However, excessive noise exposure can cause permanent hearing loss that cannot be treated with medication, or result in constant ringing in your ears called tinnitus. Impaired hearing can reduce your ability to recognize your surroundings and listen for cues of potential danger.
Learn how to protect yourself from future hearing damage with this advice from Guard Your Health, a health education campaign by the Army National Guard:
- Know the safe volume limit to protect yourself from future hearing damage. Noise that is 0 to 80 decibels is generally safe, while noise that is 140 to 200 decibels can be dangerous.
- Noise that exceeds safe parameters, even if it’s under 140 decibels, can still cause damage to your hearing over time. A general rule of thumb is the “three feet rule.” If you have to shout to someone who is three feet away (about an arm’s length), the noise level in that location could be damaging.
- Be aware that a single exposure to a very loud sound (such as weapon fire) can cause permanent hearing loss.
- Using proper hearing protection for the environment can help prevent damage to your eardrum and hearing. There are several types of hearing protection devices available including foam earplugs, silicone earplugs and earmuffs. For example, when shooting at the gun range, noise-activated earplugs can help you avoid sudden eardrum rupture.
- Foam earplugs should be pinched when inserted, allowing the foam to expand in your ear until you achieve a tight, non-painful seal. Silicone earplugs should be inserted only until you feel a slight resistance to avoid damaging your inner ear. To wear ear plugs properly, straighten your ear by gripping the cartilage and stretching it away from your body. Insert the earplug then release your ear. Do a few jumping jacks to test the security of the earplugs; if they fall out, try again or get a smaller size.
- Earmuffs should rest about two finger widths from your jawbone and completely cover your ears for a tight seal on the side of your face.
If you notice signs of hearing problems, ask your doctor to test your hearing. Common symptoms include a muffled sound in your ears after leaving a noisy area or event such as a car race, concert, wood working or hunting; prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears after exposure to noise; and difficulty understanding what people are saying although you can hear them talking.
For more health-related tools and information, visit guardyourhealth.com.
Posted in News
Posted on 12 May 2011.
(ARA) – Hearing loss affects more than 34 million Americans. If detected early, it may be a preventable chronic disease. Here are 10 ways to help prevent, delay or reduce the extent of hearing loss.
1. Noise exposure. Are you one of the more than 22 million American workers exposed to excessive levels of noise in the workplace? Are you one of those listening to iPods, shooting firearms, riding motorbikes, or working with lawn and garden tools? These devices are causing hearing loss at alarmingly high rates. Most noise is painless, progressive, permanent and preventable. Noise exposure is the second most common cause of hearing loss worldwide and is the most preventable. You should wear hearing protectors or avoid exposure to loud sounds. Turn down the volume and reduce the length of time you listen to your iPod or mp3 player. Studies show that people who wear noise canceling or noise reduction earphones with iPod or mp3 players typically listen to music at safer levels.
2. Cotton swabs. Why take a chance on making matters worse? Cotton swabs and ear candling are unhealthy practices to remove earwax, to clean or scratch your ear canals. Don’t use cotton swabs to clean inside your ear canal. It can push the earwax in further and you could puncture your eardrum.
3. Smoking. Smoking tobacco and second-hand smoke can contribute to hearing loss. Studies suggest that chronic nicotine exposure impairs the brain’s ability to “hear” and interpret sound. Along with the other reasons to stop smoking, you can reduce your likelihood of greater hearing loss if you quit or stay out of smoky places.
4. Diabetes. Diabetics are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining proper weight and daily exercise can help you avoid type 2 diabetes.
5. Alcohol. Too much alcohol can contribute to permanent hearing loss. Recently, researchers found that drinking 2 beers in a half an hour can cause temporary hearing loss for up to 16 hours.
6. Solvents. Avoid organic solvents. Organic solvents (such as styrene and toluene) are commonly found in paints, lacquers and industrial printing inks. Studies have shown that these substances have a negative effect on your hearing.
7. Medications. There are at least 96 different drugs that may cause permanent or temporary hearing loss. When you stop taking aspirin and aspirin-containing drugs, your hearing may come back. Excessive use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), cisplatin (a cancer drug) and erectile dysfunction drugs can also cause hearing loss.
8. Antioxidants. Antioxidants and vitamin supplements may help prevent hearing loss. Hearing loss due to aging may be prevented with a combination of antioxidants, mineral and vitamin supplements such as folic acid and magnesium. A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and meats may protect hearing in later life.
9. Your heart. Maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. There is a strong correlation between heart health and good hearing. Newly published reports show that a healthy cardiovascular system increases the likelihood of maintaining hearing, particularly among older adults.
10. See an audiologist. If you think you may have hearing loss, an audiologist will test, monitor and offer solutions to help you function better. An audiologist is a licensed health care provider who is trained to diagnose and manage your loss, as well as offer preventative measures. To find an audiologist in your area go to www.audiologyawareness.com or call (888) 833-EARS (3277).
The Audiology Awareness Campaign, a nonprofit foundation aimed at providing the public with information on hearing loss, is sponsoring the 4th Annual “Listen Up America Week” May 9 to 13, 2011, where audiologists will offer free hearing screenings nationwide.
“By offering free hearing screenings throughout the United States, we have the ability to reach many Americans who might otherwise not have access to licensed audiologists,” says Dr. Kathy Landau Goodman, chairperson of the Audiology Awareness Campaign. “Now these individuals will have access to audiologists who can evaluate their hearing, determine whether they have hearing loss, and then make appropriate recommendations for treating their hearing problems.”
Posted in Featured