I work in the factory and over the years I have seen my coworkers’ hearing capabilities diminish. You might have the impression that this affects the old guns, but you will be worried to know that the young tax is also affected.
The national institute of deafness and other communication disorders (NIDCD) reports that over 20 million between the ages and 20-69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
What is noise induced hearing loss?
We are living in a noisy world and there are constant sounds from the radio, television, traffic, household appliances, and many others. It’s rare that you will lose your hearing from the sounds made by these units, unless they are extremely loud.
In most cases, you will lose your hearing when you are dealing with loud machines such as chain saws, tractors, grain dryers, and lawn mowers.
Most of the people that are suffering from the condition find it difficult understanding conversations in crowded rooms. If you are married, you find yourself fighting with your family over the volume of the television or radio. You always want the volume high, hence the friction.
Can you cure noise induced hearing loss?
Unfortunately, when you develop the condition, you can’t get a cure for it; therefore, you should work at protecting yourself from it. Some of the protective measures that you can take include:
Wearing earplugs: They are made from memory foam or silicone and you place them in the ear canal thus blocking most of the noise. They come in different sizes and colors. It’s up to you to choose the ones that are ideal for you.
Over the years I have bought thousands of earplugs. When buying them, I would recommend that you pay close attention to their size. Always buy those that perfectly fit your ears. When the earplugs start getting hard, it’s time to get new ones.
If you have a few extra dollars, you should get the custom made earplugs. In addition to perfectly fitting your ears, they also tend to last for a long time, which saves you a lot of money in the long run.
While I have used a lot of earplugs, they aren’t my first choice—I love earmuffs. Earmuffs are long lasting and when you buy the right ones, they are ultra-comfortable.
You should wear the hearing protection devices when you are going to noisy environments such as industries, music festivals, and so on.
Turning the music down: Have you noticed the current trend with these youngsters? They put on their earphones and blast music to the highest level. What they don’t know is that they are damaging their hearing.
I have also come across a few homeowners that try to drown the sound of their lawn mowers with music. This is wrong. If you have to listen to music, listen at a low volume. When lawn mowing, wear high quality ear muffs or earplugs that will block most of the lawn mower noise.
Move away from the noise: I can’t put a number on the number of times I have walked away from noise. This is usually when the noise is too high than my hearing protectors can handle. I will get into the factory and find one of the employees using a chainsaw or another machine that is too loud. To protect my hearing, I will simply walk away.
If you are young and you are attending a party and you don’t have earplugs, you will be better off missing the fun than destroying your hearing.
What can you do when you are already suffering from NIHL?
As mentioned, the condition is irreversible. If you are having problems hearing, you should visit your audiologist who will diagnose the extent of damage. The professional might recommend hearing aids that will increase your hearing levels.
If you are in constant exposure to loud noises, you should have your hearing tested regularly. This is to avoid the surprise of your audiologist delivering the bad news—you are deaf!