Our hearing is a precious commodity. Sounds connect us to other people, memories, and activities we enjoy. Hearing enhances our life and learning experiences. To enjoy all the sounds of your life, properly caring for your ears is the best way to prevent hearing loss and protect your hearing.
Hearing Loss Resource Guide
Whether it’s learning about how hearing works, or best resources on living with hearing loss, we’ve got you covered. Our hearing resource guide has articles, videos and more.
Most Common Cause of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can happen to anyone who’s exposed to loud noises if the negative conditions are right. For the adolescent and baby boomer segments of the population, the most common cause of hearing loss is prolonged, chronic exposure to loud noises. This is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and it’s permanent. If you listen to a loud noise for too long, it begins to damage the tiny nerve cells in your inner ear that are responsible for hearing.
Decibel Levels of Common Sounds
It helps to understand that the intensity of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Here’s a breakdown of a few common decibel levels for everyday noises:
- 0 dB: tiny rustle of a leaf
- 30 dB: quiet library
- 90 dB: lawnmower
- 115 dB: rock concert
- 140 dB: jet plane taking off
Ongoing exposure to sounds above 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss over time. Even a one-time event such as a gunshot or explosion at close proximity can do lasting damage. The rule of thumb for unprotected ears is that the allowed exposure time decreases by one-half for each 5 dB increase in the sound. For instance, you can listen to a 90 dB sound for eight hours per day, a 95 dB sound for four hours per day and a 100 dB sound for two hours per day.
Three Tips to Protect your Hearing
Avoid Harmful Noise
Musical concerts and movies offer wonderful experiences, but can hurt your hearing. Consider wearing hearing protection if you are in a loud commercial, industrial, or recreational environment. Protect yourself whenever you’re firing guns or near people who are. Avoid loud rock concerts—or at least wear earplugs if you do attend.
Practice Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Making great lifestyle choices is great for your overall health and especially your hearing. This means refraining from smoking, eating well and exercising to ensure that your body stays in the best possible shape.
Get your hearing checked regularly
Some hearing problems can be treated if they’re caught early. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for a hearing test if you are feeling uncertain about your ability to hear. Or, visit any one of our Miracle-Ear locations for a free screening.
Hearing Protection for Professionals
Many peopel are at higher risk of hearing loss due to their job or career. Take a look at some common professions that are exposed to loud noise and what you can do to protect your hearing in the workplace.
Hearing Protection for Construction Workers
Did you know that the noise from a power drill typically registers at 90 dB? A jackhammer is even louder, coming in at a whopping 130 dB. Since it’s important to protect your hearing from any noise over 85 dB, construction workers are constantly at risk of damaging their hearing. Many construction workers have the benefit of working outside, which can help alleviate the impact of noisy machinery. However, wearing ear plugs or ear muffs is a must on the construction site.
Hearing Protection for Factory Workers
One of the most common complaints of factory workers is excessive noise. In addition to the loud machinery they work with all day, there is also commonly large fans running throughout the day. While it’s common for workers to wear ear plugs or ear muffs while working in a factory, there are also things that can be done to reduce the noise at its source, including adding a silencer to equipment or creating an enclosure around particularly loud machinery.
Hearing Protection for the Military
We often overlook the most common military service-related injury: hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Although the military has been implementing hearing conservation programs for decades, more than 60 percent of veterans return home with some degree of hearing loss. Permanent hearing damage is often a direct result of sudden, loud explosions, the roar of airplane or ship engines, or even gunfire (110+ dB!). At Miracle-Ear, we’re committed to serving veterans by improving their access to quality hearing healthcare.
Hearing Protection for Airport Workers
Airport workers are often exposed to equipment and machinery such as engines, generators and compressors. With the sound of a jet plane taking off reaching over 140 dB, you can imagine why protecting your hearing while on the tarmac would be important. Just like many other professions, ear plugs or ear muffs are a must.
Hearing Protection for Musicians
Hearing protection is recommended for musicians or other professions associated with music production and live shows. The sound of drums can easily reach over 100 dB, which means you can only listen for a few minutes without protection before your risk damage to your ears and hearing. In addition to ear plugs, noise cancelling headphones can ensure that you can listen to your music at safe levels.