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2 pairs of noise cancelling headphones and air plugs

Protecting Your Hearing

People often don’t think about protecting their hearing until some damage has occurred. There are activities that almost everyone takes part in that can lead to hearing damage without people realizing it. Concerts, gaming with headphones, shooting guns, and using power tools are just some examples. These activities involve being exposed to loud noises for an extended period, which when done repeatedly can be harmful. While these can cause hearing loss, there are measures that can be taken to prevent this from happening.

Are my headphones turned up too loud?

Most headsets and earbuds do not have limits on volume levels. This makes it difficult to give a baseline on where the volume level becomes harmful to someone’s hearing. If you are unsure if your audio level is too high or not, chances are it is. On average, listening to audio at a level of 50% or higher of the device maximum for a prolonged time can start harming your hearing. A general rule of thumb is that if someone else can hear the audio coming from your headphones, then the volume is turned up too loud.

What do I do if I work in a loud environment?

Some work environments have constant or repetitive noises that can cause hearing damage and loss when the proper precautions are not taken. Working at a concert venue, shooting range, construction site, or on the runway of an airport are some environments where loud noises are unpreventable. It is important to take the proper precautions to protect your hearing. This includes wearing ear protection and getting regular hearing assessment.

Employers must follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, regulations for workplace safety, including noise exposure. If a workplace experiences noise louder than 85 decibels for 8 hours, they must implement a hearing conservation program. As a part of this program, employees are given access to free hearing protection, hearing exams, and educational information about hearing health.

How can i prevent hearing loss?

The best thing you can do to protect your hearing is to wear earplugs while in an environment with prolonged loud sounds. Ear protection can be bought online and varies depending on the environment. Foam earplugs are cheap and help reduce sound by 15 decibels. Other options include silicone, over-the-ear, and custom earplugs.

While there are many types of earplugs, anything is better than not using them at all. By taking the proper steps to protect your hearing, you can still take part in these activities.

Early signs of hearing loss

Noticing hearing loss can be difficult for an individual because of how we hear. We hear with our brains, meaning that we can forget what certain sounds. Because of this, we may not realize we are forgetting sounds that we’ve heard before. Here are a few early indicators of hearing loss.

  • Ringing of the ears
  • Feeling like your ears are clogged or plugged
  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Turning up the volume on your devices higher than usual

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from the early stages of hearing loss. By making an appointment for a hearing evaluation, you can prevent additional hearing loss.