We live in a very noisy world. Years ago, when a patient would come in with hearing difficulties, they had a background of working in noise. Maybe a factory or tractors on the farm. As our world has become more and more populated; the sound levels that we are exposed to are more abundant. There is not as much “quiet time” available to enjoy. As human’s, we like to be social and therefore we expose ourselves to busier and louder situations. Life is meant to be fun and active.
Hearing loss is very prevalent in the United States. It is not just a “senior dilemma” either. In fact, over 30 million Americans 12 years and older have hearing loss in BOTH EARS! That equates to 1 in 8 people. Everyone should have their hearing checked annually. You go to the dentist every 6 months to get your teeth cleaned... If you wear hearing instruments, then you should be seeing your Hearing Health Care Provider at LEAST 2 times per year. If you don’t wear hearing instruments, or don’t even have a hearing loss... you should still get your hearing tested and have a physical inspection of your ears annually.
Hearing loss is not always age related. Often hearing loss is from noise exposure or from a virus. 65% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65. Just having prolonged exposed to noise of greater than 70 decibels may start to damage your hearing. How loud is that? Well, some household appliances such as a garbage disposal, blender, or vacuum cleaner all can reach this level. Of course, most yard & hunting equipment will far exceed the safe decibel level. Therefore, is it so very important to get your hearing tested annually... to monitor changes and make appropriate changes to maintain your good hearing.
Wearing hearing protection if you are exposed to noise just makes good sense. When outside in the Florida sun you wear sunscreen to protect your skin and sunglasses to protect your vision from the harsh rays. Wearing hearing protection is necessary to protect your hearing. Getting on that lawn tractor for an hour can damage your hearing nerves. You may not notice it at first. If your ears ring after being exposed to noise, then you have probably done some damage to your hearing. If you notice that you are having problems understanding speech...especially when there is some background noise, then there is a good possibility that you have some hearing loss in the high frequencies. The high frequencies give us most of our speech understanding and they are also easily damaged by noise exposure.
There are many options of hearing protection available. All have different capabilities as to the degree of noise they can block out. There are the foam plugs that your squish and put in your ear and then they expand back out. They will block 8-15 decibels of noise. You can pick them up at your Hearing Professional’s office or usually most pharmacies. You can also have custom Hearing Protection made for you by your Hearing Health Care Provider. There are many options and materials depending upon your noise exposure needs. There are also over the ear headsets or muffs. While more cumbersome they provide great decibel reduction just like the custom hearing protection. There is also Sound Gear ™ by Starkey Hearing Technologies. Many hunters and shooters wear these as they also allow you to hear and have premium protection at the same time.
Whichever protection you choose.... wear SOMETHING! You may not notice the change to your hearing until it gets to a point that you are frustrated when speaking to others... the next step is a hearing instrument. Protect your ears first!! Ask what is best for you. Protect your ears...protect your brain! Adults with hearing loss are up to 5 times more likely to develop dementia. Good hearing helps to reduce falls, maintains our balance, and keeps us socially engaged. Wearing protection is easy. Getting an annual hearing screening is easy. Call today!
To Hear Better Is To Live Better!