Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Are You At Risk?
Every day, we experience sound in our environment, such as the sounds from television, radio, household appliances and traffic. Normally, these sounds are at safe levels that don’t damage our hearing. However, sounds can be harmful when they are too loud-even for a short time. These sounds can damage part of the inner ear and cause permanent hearing loss.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) can be immediate or it can take a long time to be noticeable. It can be permanent or temporary and may affect one or both ears. Regardless of how it might affect you, one thing is certain: noise induced hearing loss is something you can prevent!
Causes of Noise Induced Hearing Loss and Dangerous Decibel Levels
NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense sound, such as an explosion or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as noise generated in a woodworking shop.
Recreational activities that can put you at risk for NIHL include target shooting and hunting, snowmobile riding, listening to MP3 players at high volume through ear-buds or headphones, playing in a band and attending loud concerts.
Sound is measured in units called decibels. Sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.
Exposure to Loud Noise and Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a difficult symptom in which you feel ringing ears. You might have noticed this after a loud rock concert where you were a band member or the listener. The show is over but still there’s a ringing in your ears. For some, the problem is temporary. But can become permanent if ignored.
Are You At Risk?
The time you expose yourself to more than 85 Decibels, you may be putting your hearing protection at risk. It happens that most people do not realise that they are experiencing dangerous decibels every day, sometimes in the most harmless places.
Awareness, prevention and early diagnosis are surely the keys to combat hearing this type of hearing loss. Therefore, we encourage you to take a moment and recognise the sounds you encounter in your day to day life.