Summer noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss
Summertime is here with lot of fun to be had but with some hidden dangers in noise levels.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Summer is a good time to think about noise exposure — created by traffic, concerts, mowing the lawn, auto racing, and fireworks can damage our hearing. It’s best to protect it before its too late. Because once your hearing is gone — there’s no coming back.
Norman Sorensen, Audiologist with Mountain Plains Audiology Inc., says, “Well first off, hearing can be damaged based on the loudness of sounds, but it’s not just how loud the sound — it’s how long it goes on. So the louder the sound the less time you can be exposed to that amount of sound before damage will occur, so for example running a lawnmower may be 80-85 decibels, you can go three or four hours before damage will occur, a rock concert at 120 decibels you’ve got about five minutes before damage can occur.”
Sorenseon suggests wearing hearing protection devices or limit exposure to loud noises, as even mowing the lawn can cause damage to the inner ear. After exposure to loud sounds, people may notice a muffled sound or ringing in the ears, which typically goes away, however the more frequent that happens the closer you are to permanent hearing damage.
If you have to shout to conversate with someone sitting next to you — that is a sign that you are in a hazardous noise environment. And if a noise actually hurts your ears — it’s a cause for potential permanent damage. Good rule of thumb is — if you expect to be in a noisy situation, plan on bringing ear protection.
The best hearing protection depends on the person. Some people like earmuffs, some people like the plugs, some people prefer a custom molded ear plug because that way they know it fits their ear. They all have different degrees of protection.
Children are also at risk for hearing loss. It’s important to also give them hearing protection devices as well.
And if you think that it’s inconvenient to wear hearing protection — you may end up wearing hearing aids down the road instead.
“It’s always better to keep the original equipment and protect your hearing than it is to try and correct it later on.”
When loss of hearing impacts communication, Sorsenson says that is when you should look into the help of a hearing aid.