Hearing Loss Prevention
Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States. A single shot from a shotgun, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposures to loud machinery may, over an extended period of time, present serious risks to human hearing.
- Ten million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise; thirty million are exposed to hazardous noise levels each day.
- The risk and harmful effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually.
How to prevent hearing loss
Excessive noise exposure damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, not dissimilar to the effect of age on the ear. Hazardous noise exposures can occur on the job, but also in common recreational activities. Hearing loss prevention thus requires diligence and sensitivity to situations where hearing can be put at risk:
- Beware of recreational sources of hazardous noise like firearms, firecrackers, power tools, music concerts, dance clubs, NASCAR, sporting events, motorcycles, motorboats, snowmobiles, powerboats, and “boom cars”.
- The risk for hearing loss due to exposure to noise is especially high among factory and heavy industry workers, transportation workers, military personnel, construction workers, miners, farmers, firefighters, police officers, musicians, and entertainment industry professionals.
If you have to raise your voice to shout over the noise to be heard by someone within an arm’s length away, that noise could be a serious risk to your hearing. You can prevent hearing loss by removing yourself from situations where noise is excessive or by using earplugs to protect your ears.