The ear is a delicate organ. The tiny hair cells that help you hear different sounds can be easily damaged by trauma or by toxic substances.
The most common type of trauma that affects the hearing is noise. Noise exposure can occur as a part of our occupation, such as working in a noisy factory or working with power tools. But noise exposure can also occur because of our recreational activities, such as listening to loud music on portable devices. Other activities that expose us to loud noises include riding a motorcycle or rifle hunting. Attending loud concerts also is a hazardous noise exposure. If you have ever left a concert and your ears have been ringing, that is a sign of the kind of noise trauma that can cause permanent hearing loss even if the ringing goes away after a few days.
How do you know if environmental sound is too loud? An easy guide is if you have to raise your voice to be heard by someone just 3 feet away from you, that is hazardous noise exposure.
People who work in factories are often required to wear hearing protection. But people who spend time mowing the grass, working with power tools, rifle hunting, or those who play a musical instrument, may not be aware that hearing protection is probably indicated for those activities.
Our goal at Sound Hearing and Balance is to prevent hearing loss. We advocate early baseline hearing test before a problem is detected so that we can potentially prevent long-term hearing loss. We can make you aware of potential sources of noise exposure and how to avoid them. There are a variety of ways to protect your hearing. The simplest way is earplugs. Earplugs can be as simple as the roll-up foam earplugs people often use at concerts or racing events.
Earplugs can also be custom fit to your ears and can even be any color you like.
For those who have trouble keeping their earbuds in the ear, custom ear pieces can be made for their personal music devices.
Louder noise exposures may require ear muffs. There are also noise canceling headphones available from a number of sources. These are best for people exposed to a constant noise source, such as riding a motorcycle.
Musicians are often concerned about the sound quality of earplugs. Custom-molded earplugs are available for musicians, which can be fit with different filter strengths. These earplugs have a flat response for reducing volume and do not affect the sound quality.
At Sound Hearing and Balance, we can offer comprehensive solutions to help protect your hearing.