Throughout the month of October, Ear Works Audiology is working to help promote audiology healthy hearing habits. One of the easiest things people can do is protect their hearing from excessively loud noise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 5.2 million children/adolescents aged 6-19 years have noise-induced hearing loss and as many as 40 million adults aged 20-69 have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from noise exposure. Patients can protect their ears by wearing hearing protection when they are exposed to sounds louder than 85dB for 30+ minutes, turn down the volume while listening through earbuds/headphones or even simply walking away from loud noise sources.
If you know you will be in the presence of loud noise, it is recommended you protect yourself. You can use earplugs and/or earmuffs. Approximately 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments and many loud jobs will offer hearing protection on site. You can also take a break from the noise every 15 minutes, this gives your ears time to rest. To properly put a foam earplug in your ear, first roll it into a small “snake” with your fingers, pull up on the top of your ear and straighten your ear canal and insert the plug, last hold the earplug with your finger and wait 15-20 seconds for the earplug to expand and fit into your ear canal. If your voice sounds a bit muffled, you made a good seal.
Aside from protecting your ears, it is important to recognize hearing/ear issues right away. If a person experiences pain or discomfort in the ear, visible deformity, acute or chronic dizziness, drainage from the ear, sudden change in hearing, one-sided hearing loss or suspect they have a foreign body in the ear, they should schedule and appointment. It is never a good idea to “wait and see.”