Every day, we hear normal sounds such as car horns and household appliances, but when are loud noises too much? Sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even if it’s for a short period of time. Years of continued exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing loss or damage. Noise may damage hair cells, membranes, nerves, or other parts of your ear. Noise can be damaging to your ears if you have to shout in order to be heard, your ears are ringing, or if you are having a hard time hearing for a couple of hours after the initial exposure. Areas where hearing loss could occur could be from the workplace, such as shooting ranges or construction zones with loud machinery.
Exposure to loud noise can happen at any age, and hearing loss is a common, every day hazard – recreational activities such as concerts with loud music, or even events where balloons are popping can also cause significant hearing damage. Here are some tips on how you can prevent permanent damage to your ears.
- Use hearing protectors such as earplugs and/or earmuffs.
- Don’t stick anything into your ear canal. If you do need to use cotton swabs to clean your ears, do it slowly and carefully. If the cotton swab or other device is stuck too far into your ear canal, it can create an uncomfortable build-up of wax by pushing the waste further into your ear canal, and can also damage your hearing.
- The closer you are to the sound, the louder it gets. If you are not the person who is using the loud device, try to move away from the noise, if possible.
- Keep the loud device away from small children. If it must be used in their presence, protect their ears.
- If you are not able to move away from the noise, try to cover your ears with your hands.
- When you are listening to music, whether it is in your car or even using headphones, volume it down. Listening to music at the highest capacity can cause long-term damage to your ears as well.
Hearing damage or loss can be prevented in some cases. Make sure to seek medical attention to get your ears checked if you suspect that you are suffering from hearing loss.
Written by Dami Falade