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As any hearing center employee will tell you, one of the most damaging things you can do is subject your ears to excessive noise. The steps toward prevention are easy enough to take.
One of the most damaging things you can do to your ears is subject them to excessive noise. The steps toward prevention are easy enough to take, especially when compared with the difficulties of seeking treatment and assistive devices once your ability to hear has been compromised. One thing that a hearing center will make clear — a listening aid isn’t the same as a pair of glasses. It won’t magically restore your ability to hear. It will amplify sounds, but it is far from a perfect system. If you want to continue using your ears as intended, you should be aware of how you can protect them from excessive noise.
What It Is
Noise induced ear damage refers to damage that occurs when someone is exposed to prolonged or repetitive amounts of sound above a certain decibel level. One minute of listening to sounds above the 90dB limit isn’t going to do anything to your ears (probably), but listening for three hours might. Listening to three hours of it day after day will almost certainly lead to some degradation. What happens is that the sensitive cilia in the inner ear are damaged and destroyed by excessive noise. Once they are damaged, there is no bringing them back. In some cases, the nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain is also damaged, impairing one’s ability to translate sound waves into actual sound.
One of the biggest steps you can take towards prevention is simply being aware of what noises are excessive. This is a problem for many people, who have become accustomed to being barraged by a loud world every day. Construction, loud music, movie theaters that crank the sound to uncomfortable volumes. These are but a few of the instances where our ears are subjected to noises far exceeding what they were designed to deal with. When you find yourself in such an environment, it’s important to take steps to protect your ears.
There are two basic forms of protection. The first is by removing the dangerous sound levels entirely. Turn down the volume on your iPod, stereo, and television. It may take a while to get used to, but once you do, you won’t miss the higher volume levels. Anyone who works at a hearing center sees people on a daily basis with self-induced auditory loss. If you want to be able to hear your music in twenty years, you need to prevent damage today. The other form of protection is wearing earplugs, which you should always do when working with loud tools or when you’re in an environment where you can’t control the sound levels.
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