The Importance of Hearing Protection
Your ears serve two primary purposes: hearing and balance. Both senses are vital to your safety and quality of life. However, they also have the potential to be affected by the noises you hear each day. Your ears are fragile, and you must take steps to protect them from harm. When you don’t, you put your sense of hearing in jeopardy.
The Risks of Exposure to Repeated Loud Sounds
Part of your ear’s job is transmitting sounds so your brain can interpret them. This is the primary function of the hair cells and nerves in the cochlea, which is part of your inner ear.
These cochlear hair cells and nerves turn sound waves into electrical signals that your brain understands. Your brain then communicates all the information you need about that sound — which direction it’s coming from, how it’s being generated, and whether impending danger is associated with it.
Everyday sounds usually move through this process without incident, allowing you to better understand the world around you. Loud sounds, however, are a different story.
A loud noise can damage the cells and nerves in your inner ear. Repeated exposure to loud sounds causes repeated injuries and, eventually, cell death. As cochlear hair cells die off, your ability to hear decreases.
Even Short-Term Exposure Can Cause Hearing Loss
Sounds over 70 decibels can impact your ability to hear over time. However, noise-induced hearing loss doesn’t require repeated exposure to loud noises.
The CDC states that noises louder than 120 decibels can cause immediate harm and irreparably damage hair cells. Some noises that reach 120 decibels or higher include sirens in close range, fireworks, rock concerts, jet engines, gunshots, and even hammers hitting nails.
You must avoid even short-term exposure to these types of loud sounds. If attending a concert at the Santa Monica Pier still sounds like a good time, take precautions like staying far away from the stage and using protective gear. If you don’t, you may find yourself in need of a hearing aid prescription due to noise-induced hearing loss.
Protecting Your Ears with PPE
Excessive noise is a hazard to your hearing health. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration requires employers to provide workers with hearing protection equipment if they will be exposed to noise at 85 decibels or higher for eight or more hours. You and your employer should take these guidelines seriously.
Wearing ear protection can help save you from the need for nonprescription hearing aids. If you know in advance that you’ll be exposed to loud noises, it’s a good idea to carry personal protective equipment (PPE) with you. Some PPE examples include:
These devices might feel uncomfortable at first. But your ears — and the hair cells responsible for your hearing — will undoubtedly thank you.
What to Do if You Suspect Hearing Loss
There is no known treatment for noise-induced hearing loss. If you suspect you already have developed hearing loss, there are two things you should do right away:
Contact an audiologist
Wear ear protection when appropriate to prevent it from getting worse
Since not all hearing loss is noise-induced, you should contact a professional who can determine the source of your hearing loss and explain whether further testing and treatment are required.
If an audiologist confirms that you have noise-induced hearing loss, you’ll receive consultation on steps to reduce further damage and compensate for the loss, such as using FDA-approved OTC hearing aids.
Comprehensive Care at Arcade Hearing Aid Center
If you’ve experienced hearing loss, the best thing you can do is make an appointment to receive care from a licensed audiologist. Whether your hearing loss is noise-induced or the result of an illness or injury, a professional evaluation is in order.
At Arcade Hearing Aid Center, we offer solutions to suit different hearing needs, including hearing aids that work with iPhone and Android apps, Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids that take phone calls, and in-the-ear devices. Our team thoroughly evaluates each patient and performs ear impressions for a custom fit.
Schedule an appointment at Arcade Hearing Aid Center in Santa Monica, CA, today to get started with a comprehensive care plan to protect and improve your hearing so you can live life to the fullest.