Many of us, already living with hearing loss, know the difficulties of navigating a “hearing” world. If I could help just one person to retain their hearing health, it would be like saving a world – their world. So, here are some ideas to pass onto your “fully hearing” friends and family that could lower their risk of developing age-related hearing loss.
- First tip: don’t wait until you’re older.
Take control of your hearing health while you’re under the age of 20, if possible. But even if you’ve left that age behind you, it’s never too late to start.
- Two: Stay away from loud noises.
Loud noise can cause hearing loss. Which noises should I be wary of? In any city in the world, you’re surrounded by loud sounds like drilling in the street, fireworks, even gunfire, perhaps.
Live near the sea? Be cautious of foghorns. In 2010, South Africa became famous for the vuvuzela. The consequences of this blast of noise were countrywide.
A noise that’s loud enough, can bring immediate hearing loss. Where it’s less explosive, the damage may not be as quick, but continued exposure can harm your ears over time. We don’t usually think of the sounds of an aeroplane, or a dentist’s drill (another reason not to go to the dentist? 😊). Whatever the source, the damage may be irreversible.
So, that’s bad news. There is some good news. Get protection!
Start with noise protection accessories – you can get some pretty trendy earmuffs and earplugs to wear when you’re around loud noises.
So, how loud is too loud?
Scientifically speaking, the level is usually described as any sounds above 85 decibels. To better understand this, here are some really simple guidelines for determining if loud is too loud.
If you’re at an event:
- Do you, or those in your company, need to raise their voices in order to hear each other? That’s a big clue that it’s too loud.
- Do you keep moving closer to hear your friend who is only about a meter away from you? It’s too loud.
- After you leave an event, does conversation now sound muffled? The noise was too loud.
- Are you experiencing pain or ringing in your ears (tinnitus) after an event? That’s another sign the noise was too loud.
If you’re lucky, the damage is not severe, but try to refrain from repeating the exercise. Or wear those earplugs. Believe me, you’ll still be able to hear the music. Be alert to the levels of noise around you at all times. There’s no need to completely stop the things you enjoy. Just take reasonable steps to protect your ears against excessive noise. You only have the two you were born with.
There’s an app for that
Believe it. There are apps you can download that measure the level of noise around you. Look at “Decibel X”, “SPL Meter “and “Too Noisy Pro”. There are many others. Have a look around. Some of the apps do attract a fee but try them out and decide if it’s worth the investment.
Take the steps. Prevent the damage.
I was seen by Tami Mehl at my ripe old age of 85. It is an absolute pleasure to have dealt with someone who is so respectful and caring of us old folks. With her patience and understanding, she walked me through the hearing tests and sorted out the best hearing aids for my lifestyle. I would certainly recommend Tami to all of my friends. I cannot express my gratitude in how the hearing aids have enhanced my lifestyle.