You may associate aging with hearing loss, but there’s a much bigger problem causing issues with how you hear sounds — and it occurs in people of all ages. We’re talking about noise.
Research estimates that approximately 12.5% of people age 6-19 and 17% of those age 20-69 have sustained permanent hearing loss due to noise. The problem occurs when delicate structures or nerves in the inner ear become damaged — and there’s no medical or surgical way to correct it.
But you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
You don’t have to wait to experience hearing loss to meet with Kevin Sharim and the Sharp Hearing Care Professionals team. When you work with one of our experienced audiologists, you can take proactive measures to protect your hearing, especially if you’re at high risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
Here’s what you should know about this common cause of hearing loss and how to avoid it.
Noise-induced hearing loss basics
There’s a lot of confusion around noise-induced hearing loss, specifically about the type of noise that causes it. This type of hearing loss can occur in a single moment or slowly over time. And some of the sounds may surprise you.
Generally, if you have to shout to be heard, your ears hurt or ring, or you have problems hearing for a few hours after exposure to noise, it was too loud and could cause permanent damage.
Examples of noise that can lead to hearing loss include:
- Loud appliances, like hair dryers, blenders, vacuum cleaners, and food processors
- Traffic sounds, including subways and motorcycles
- Equipment like power tools, chainsaws, sandblasting, lawnmowers, and leaf blowers
- Recreational activities like go-carts, concerts, model airplanes, and snowmobiles
- Listening to music at high volumes
- Fireworks and gunfire
Working in certain fields can also increase your exposure to high levels of noise. Some of the industries with the highest rate of noise-related hearing loss include entertainment, agriculture, carpentry, construction, and the military.
Preventing noise-induced hearing loss
Once you understand your risks, you can take action to protect your hearing. In an ideal world, that would involve turning down the volume or avoiding loud noises that cause damage. However, that’s not always an option. Fortunately, our team can help.
While noise can cause hearing loss in everyone, the type of exposure can vary significantly from person to person. That’s why we offer personalized solutions to protect your hearing on a case-by-case basis. One method involves custom earmolds.
Unlike an over-the-counter earplug, our team makes custom earmolds to fit your ear to provide increased comfort. Plus, we create them to offer the ideal level of protection based on your needs.
For instance, musicians can protect their hearing with our custom-made earmolds without distorting the music they need to hear, and our advanced shooting plugs can protect your hearing from the damaging noise of loud firearms yet enhance speech so you can safely hear people around you.
At the end of the day, protecting your hearing doesn’t mean blocking all sounds entirely. It’s all about reducing your exposure to the ones that can cause damage. Because that can vary significantly, it’s essential to work with an expert who can offer personalized solutions, like custom earmolds.
We also recommend seeing an audiologist for a hearing test if you suspect you’ve sustained noise-induced hearing loss already.
Signs of noise-induced hearing loss
Signs of hearing loss can occur quickly or gradually over time. The most common signs of noise-induced hearing loss include:
- Being unable to hear high-pitched sounds, like bird song
- Having a buzzing or ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- Experiencing a sensation of pressure or fullness in the ear
- Feeling speech that sounds distorted or muffled
These symptoms can last minutes, hours, or days after the noise exposure. However, even if it seems to go away, permanent damage within your inner ear could still exist.
Our team can evaluate your hearing and look for signs of hearing loss. Then, we can create a strategy to help moving forward.
Are you at risk of hearing loss? Take steps to protect yourself by scheduling a consultation at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Tarzana, California, today.