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Senior Assisted Living Blog

Hearing Loss -- Education and Prevention

- Thursday, September 02, 2010

All of us at Spring Arbor Living seek to promote healthy life styles for both our residents and their entire family.  According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), ten million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise and another 30 million are exposed to dangerous levels of noise each and every day. Hearing loss is a common affliction for both the old and the young. So take two minutes to read, reflect, and if need be, change your bad habits that put your hearing at risk.  

The rule of thumb, according to NIDCD, is to be wary of noises that are “too loud”, “too close”, or last “too long”. When exposure to potentially dangerous noise is unavoidable, noise induced hearing loss can be prevented by using effective hearing protection such as earplugs, earmuffs or headsets. These will help drown out the sound from those outside sources and protect your ears.

Make sure to watch out for symptoms of hearing loss, including sounds that appear distorted or muffled a ringing in the ears, a feeling of fullness in the ears and difficulty understanding speech. Any of these signs signal that a hearing test is essential. The test will go through a series of sounds and pitches to determine where your hearing level is and if it is damaged.

Today’s hearing aids are smarter, smaller and more comfortable than ever before. With proper professional hearing care support, they can benefit 95 percent of all those with hearing loss. However, there is no substitute for prevention, and noise induced hearing loss is 100-percent preventable. There are many programs and companies out there that specialize in hearing aids. And most of them would be glad to help out.

As a small quick tidbit, we'll share some quick sound facts since we are on the subject of hearing and sound. We hope this post was informative and everyone protects their ears. Being able to hear is a valuable sense to have and we take it for granted until it is gone.

•   The unit used to measure sound is a decibel: A whisper may be 30 decibels, and typical conversation measures 60 decibels, while a hair dryer can come in at 90 decibels.
•   An increase of 10 on the decibels scale means the sound is 10x more powerful.
•   The Sight and Hearing Association estimates that unprotected hearing can be damaged in four hours when using a power saw (95 decibels), 15 minutes at a stadium football game (115 decibels), and eight hours in truck traffic (90 decibels).
•   A single acoustic trauma can result in permanent hearing loss – or in temporary hearing loss, which may be followed by partial or total recovery. Sudden hearing loss always requires prompt medical attention.

So just exactly what is "too loud too close, or too long".  Unless you carry a decibel meter wherever you go, you just have to trust your instincts. You know, young people just know that they are going to "hear forever".  We, the mature, know better.  Just be honest with yourselves, and don't be lazy.  Reach for your hearing protection each and every time your gut tells you to do so. 

Stop by or call to continue the discussion or for more references on the subject of hearing loss.