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Protect Your Hearing The Right Way

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    Hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds is painless, progressive and permanent. The good news is through protection and limiting your exposure to loud sound levels, you can prevent hearing damage.

    Hearing damage can occur when sounds exceed 85 decibels (dB). When dealing with noises over this range it is important to protect your ears.

    If you notice the following symptoms after exposure to loud sounds, you may be over-exposed and could potentially be causing long-term damage:

    • Voices suddenly sound muffled and your ears feel stuffy
    • You experience ringing or buzzing in one or both ears (also known as tinnitus).
    • Your ears hurt after being in a loud place.
    • Your hearing is suddenly sensitive to noise.

    *If any of these symptoms last longer than a day, you should visit your audiologist.

    Permissible Exposure Chart:

    Hearing damage occurs as a function of loudness and exposure time. The following chart shows the recommended permissible exposure time for continuous noise without using ear protection.

    Continuous dB Permissible Exposure Time
    85 dB

    88 dB

    91 dB

    94 dB

    97 dB

    100 dB

    103 dB

    106 dB

    109 dB

    112 dB

    115 dB

    8 hours

    4 hours

    2 hours

    1 hour

    30 minutes

    15 minutes

    7.5 minutes

    3.75 minutes

    1.875 minutes

    .9375 minutes

    .46875 minutes

    *Information from www.dangerousdecibels.org

    If you regularly find yourself exposed to damaging noise levels, it is important to monitor your hearing through periodic hearing tests. Please call our office today to schedule a hearing test.

    Kenwood Hearing Centers [East Santa Rosa]– 707-538-1000

    Kenwood Hearing Centers [West Santa Rosa] – 707-544-4433

    Kenwood Hearing Centers [Petaluma] – 707-789-9191

    Kenwood Hearing Centers [Fairfield] – 707-993-4505

    Ear Protection:

    There are many different forms of ear protection.

    Over-the-Counter: This form of ear protection is usually disposable or can be multiple use. These earplugs will reduce all sounds to some extent, and are great for reducing higher pitched sounds. These earplugs are inexpensive and available at your local drugstore. When inserted properly they should fit in a way that completely seals the ear canal. Over-the-counter earplugs are inexpensive and widely available

    Custom-Molded Earplugs: These earplugs are created by taking an impression of your ear to have them fit the individual shape of your ear canal. Custom molds are comfortable, and reduce the sound equally across high and low spectrums, making this earplug ideal for musicians and concertgoer’s. You may have custom-molded earplugs made by scheduling an appointment at one of our offices.

    Earmuffs: This type of ear protection creates an acoustic seal around the outer ear through a solid shell. Earmuffs are perfect for people who use ear protection often. A downfall to this type of protection can be the heaviness and bulkiness. Earmuffs may be purchased online or in a sporting good store.

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    Protect Your Hearing

    Latest posts by support (see all)

      Around 40 million people living in the United States alone suffer from hearing loss. Unfortunately, that number seems to just be increasing as the years go by. Excessive noise alone causes about 30 percent of all hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises for just 15 minutes a day can cause significant, permanent damage to your hearing over time. Many cases of hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises are preventable. So why do so many people suffer from this type of hearing loss? One of the problems is that many people don’t even know how damaging noise can be to their ears in the long run. Other problems contribute as well, like lack of routine hearing loss screening tests and people having insufficient knowledge about what they can do to lessen or avoid noise-induced hearing loss altogether.

      What you can do to prevent noise-induced hearing loss

      To avoid noise-induced hearing loss, there are a few things you can do. The following practices will significantly reduce the chance that your hearing is permanently damaged by loud noises.

      First, try to be aware of when you’re being exposed to loud noises. Any noise above about 85 decibels (dB) may cause damage if you’re exposed to it for too long. For comparison, a normal conversation usually clocks in at about 50-70 dB, motorcycles are about 85-90 dB, and loud concerts are 110+ dB. The best thing to do if you’re being exposed to loud noises for long periods of time is to take periodic 15 minute breaks. During the break, find a nice, quiet area and let your ears have a rest. The frequency of breaks depends on how loud the sound is—it’s only safe to be exposed to 100 dB for about 15 minutes at a time.

      If at all possible, you can also avoid these types of situations altogether. If you’re in a situation where you would have to raise your voice in order for someone near you to hear you, your ears are probably being exposed to too much noise. If you’re going to attend a loud concert or similar show, make sure that you’re not up close to the amps and speakers. Being as close as possible to the performers can be a rush, but, typically, speakers of the size used in performances can cause serious damage to your ears in a short period of time. Avoid listening to music too loudly, operating loud machinery for extended periods of time without ear protection, and other similar situations.

      Speaking of ear protection, if you have to be around loud noises that you can’t avoid it’s important to wear some kind of earplug or earmuff. Most ear protection products will reduce the noise level by over 20 dB. You should always make sure you’re wearing a product that has noise reduction significant enough for the environment you’ll be in.

      Finally, if you are experiencing hearing loss or if you have ear pain, make sure to tell your doctor about it right away. Most people wait years before they ever seek help for their hearing loss. There are simple, painless tests to determine what’s going on with your hearing. Your doctor can guide you in the right direction and help you get back on the track toward a future without hearing loss. Protect your hearing with Kenwood Hearing Centers.

      Posted in Hearing Loss Tips