Sights and sounds are an unavoidable part of our daily life. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are constantly bombarded with various sounds. Even while we are sleeping, our ears continue to hear sounds even when we are unaware of it. Be it your spouse’s snoring, your baby’s wailing, the telephone ringing, the fire alarm, your world is constantly on the edge because of your hearing. Until you can hear no more!
Our constant exposure to even the most mundane daily sounds of life can result in hearing loss. A recent study reports that hearing loss affects around 24% of the population in America. This makes hearing loss quite a significant problem, even though most people choose to ignore it for as long as a decade before they even seek help for it.
We cannot protect our ears from unseen, unmonitored threats to hearing, which is why it is imperative that we learn more about the types of noises that can damage our hearing. Furthermore, it is also vital that we make productive changes that will help safeguard our hearing for all our years to come.
Before we jump into protecting our ears, let us first talk about what constitutes as unsafe levels of sound. It is widely known that safe levels of sound are considered to be those that do not exceed 85 decibels for a period of 8 hours. Of course, this means that the longer time we spend at even safe volume levels, the higher our chances of hearing loss. Additionally, our chances of suffering from hearing damage increase as the decibel levels rise. At unsafe levels such as 100 decibels, it is recommended to limit your exposure to no more than 15 minutes.
The problem is that no one tells us whether any given level of sound is safe or unsafe. We are left to figure that out on our own. Hearing loss often occurs gradually, which makes it even more difficult to detect early warning signs. Only in extremely loud decibel levels can we suffer from instant hearing loss, such as sounds of a bomb explosion, gunshot, or a sudden burst of fireworks.
People often assume that only the elderly are hard of hearing. In reality, the World Health Organization has recently found that one billion young adults all around the globe have a heightened likelihood of suffering from hearing loss. This is mostly due to preventable, unsafe practices which endanger their hearing. Hearing loss is an irreversible condition, which is why it is vital that you protect your hearing while you still can.
One of the basic things you can do to protect your hearing is to turn down the volume of all your audio devices. It is recommended that you should listen to audio devices at no more than 60% of the maximum available volume, and for no more than 60 minutes at a time. Give your ears a break frequently so that they get time to recuperate.
Instead of raising the volume to drown out the noise around you, simply invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. This will help you gain a noise-free listening experience at safer volume levels.
Nowadays you can pretty much find an application for everything on your smart phone or iPhone. The same is true when it comes to figuring out just how noisy your immediate environment is. Decibel X can be one such useful application that you can use to find out a moderately accurate assessment of the sound levels around you.
You do not need a fancy gadget or smart phone to tell you just how loud the sounds are around you. Just use your intuition and gut feelings; if you feel that the sounds around you are very loud, chances are that they ARE! If you need to speak very loudly in order to have a conversation, this can be a clear indication that you are in an unsafely loud environment.
Your body is your best friend when it comes to getting natural indications of being exposed to unsafe levels of sound. If you find a ringing sensation in your ears after going out, chances are that the place you went to was way too loud. If you find that everyone around you is mumbling and you have muffled hearing, chances are that you were exposed to an unsafe level of sound and have some type of hearing loss.
Never take chances with your hearing. Wherever you go, always carry a pair of earplugs with you to protect your hearing. Since earplugs are rather small and discreet, you can carry them with you in even the tiniest of purses or wallets, or store them in your pockets or glove compartments. Children often learn by watching their parents, so if you want your kids to practice safe listening habits, make sure you are practicing what you preach.
Always remember that hearing loss has a better prognosis when detected early. This is why it is important to schedule an annual hearing exam to detect any early signs of hearing loss. Sometimes, hearing loss can have easily rectifiable causes, and it is best to rest easy and take precautions rather than have to suffer the sound of silence for the rest of your life.
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