April 24 was International Noise Awareness Day. The annual event was founded in 1996 by the Center of Hearing and Communication to raise awareness of the “effects of noise on the health and welfare of individuals and populations worldwide.”
Loud noise exposure can cause tinnitus, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tinnitus is the persistent perception of buzzing or ringing in the ear. Dr. Bradford Ress treats tinnitus at his Boca Raton, FL clinic. If you are exposed to loud sounds that can cause or aggravate tinnitus, these tips may help reduce those dangers.
How Loud is Too Loud?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided these guidelines.
“Sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss,” according to HHS. However, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to happen.”
- The humming of a refrigerator: 45 decibels
- Normal conversation: 60 decibels
- Noise from heavy city traffic: 85 decibels
- Motorcycles: 95 decibels
- An MP3 player at maximum volume: 105 decibels
- Sirens: 120 decibels
- Firecrackers and firearms: 150 decibels
Tips For Protecting Your Hearing
- Take extra caution when wearing earbuds: While earphones and earbuds use lower decibel levels, their proximity to the eardrums makes them potentially dangerous. If you enjoy wearing these electronic devices while working or running, ask yourself if the volume is acceptable. In many cases, you can lower the volume and still ear your favorite podcast or soundtrack clearly.
- Have your hearing tested regularly: Your first baseline hearing test should be completed by the age of 21 and every 10 years after. By age 50, you will be at a higher risk for hearing loss and should have a hearing test conducted every few years. Many adults wait several years from the time they first notice hearing loss until the time they seek treatment. There is no reason to allow hearing loss to diminish your quality of life.
- Use earplugs or other sound-muffling devices: Earplugs will not diminish your concert outing experience. Many people do not realize that using the small foam devices will still allow for an enjoyable live music experience but without dangers of noise-induced hearing loss.
- Become an advocate for quiet spaces: If the restaurant you are dining in is blaring music at painful levels, you are probably not the only one being bothered. In those situations, explain to a manager that the loud noise is bothersome. Many people are afraid or embarrassed to speak up against loud noises. By pointing out incidents of excessive noise, you can become a positive role model in your community.
- Avoid loud environments: If the music venue for your favorite band is too small, you can always enjoy their songs in the comfort of your home. Avoiding construction sites and loud environments can prevent permanent hearing loss.
Services We Offer
If you are due for a hearing test or would like to treat symptoms of hearing loss, our Boca Raton clinic offers:
- Hearing tests
- Hearing aid fittings
- Screenings for children
- Hearing aid repairs
- Custom hearing aid fittings
Schedule Your Next Hearing Consultation
Even when steps are taken to protect hearing, age and genetic factors can deteriorate our sense of hearing over time. Having your hearing tested is one way to stay ahead of those potential problems. To schedule your hearing aid consultation with Dr. Ress, contact our Boca Raton, FL online or call (561) 353-7377.