Tips for avoiding hearing loss for all ages
Hearing loss affects millions of Americans, both young and old. Some forms of hearing loss are out of our control, but there are steps you can take that may stop noise-induced hearing loss in its tracks or before it even begins. October is National Protect Your Hearing Month—a good time to educate yourself about the risks and prevention.
Did you know?
- Noise-induced hearing loss can creep up on you over years, or it can happen all at once.
- Hearing loss due to noise cannot be reversed, but it is preventable.
- Noise over 85 decibels is dangerous to hearing—that’s a little louder than a garbage disposal, and about the sound of a truck going 40 mph about 50 feet away.
What you can do
There are several steps you can take to protect your hearing. They may seem like common sense, but often, in the moment, we may not stop and think that we’re experiencing noise at a dangerous level. When in doubt, use these tips to protect your ears:
- Lower the volume while you’re watching television, listening to music, or using headphones.
- If you can’t leave an area of loud noise (such as at a concert), move as far away as possible from the source (such as the speakers).
- Use earplugs, earmuffs, or headphones designed for hearing protection at loud events such as concerts or sporting events. Make sure you bring some for your children as well.
Share your knowledge of noise-induced hearing loss with your family, friends and colleagues. Awareness and education are the first steps to finding ways to preventing hearing loss due to noise.
Test your knowledge of loud noises
How loud is too loud? The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders offers a tool on their Noisy Planet website for you to hear examples of common noises and how loud they actually are. Check it out to see what noises you encounter on a daily basis.
It’s especially important to be aware of noise you’re exposed to day-in and day-out, such as at work. Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the U.S. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates about 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed each year to noises over 85 decibels. If you’re experiencing loud noise in your workplace, speak to your supervisor to see what can be done to minimize your risk of hearing loss.
Industrial Safety and Hygiene News (ISHN) also includes helpful links to resources for educational materials and a search for audiologists in your area, should you feel the need to get your hearing checked.
During October—as well as every month of the year—be mindful of the level of noise around you and protect your hearing whenever possible. Hearing safety is something we should all be focused on.
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. We’re dedicated to supporting all our students in pursuing their career goals. Reach out to us for more information about our number of different career training programs.