Hearing loss is on the rise, and research shows us that this has implications for our overall health.
There is a common misconception that hearing loss is just a natural part of aging. The reality is that it’s a public health problem that impacts all age groups, and it’s on the rise.
It’s a measurable fact, that the world is getting louder, exposing us to hazardous levels of noise that can cause noise-induced hearing loss. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide – one in four – will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050.
Excessive Noise is Not Good For Us
Noise pollution is an undesirable sound or a sound that generates discomfort on the ears. It is measured in decibels (dB), and sound levels beyond 100 dB can cause permanent hearing loss.
Studies have shown that noise exposure creates annoyance, disrupts our sleep, impairs cognitive performance in school children and even increases the occurrence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Constant exposure to loud noises can damage eardrums and cause loss of hearing.
Examples of noise levels that can be dangerous:
- Among young people, hearing loss is associated with unsafe use of audio devices and exposure to damaging sound levels at nightclubs, concerts, and sporting events.
- There are a number of industries where employees can experience high levels of noise:
- Aerospace, where flight crews can endure noise levels of up to 130dB during takeoff.
- Farmers rank among the top three occupations and industries with the highest risk for hearing loss.
- Ambulance drivers are exposed to sirens. At close range a siren is 120db which is loud enough to feel ear pain instantly.
Hearing Loss and Your Overall Health
Our ability to hear is priceless. Untreated hearing loss can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. Conditions that can develop from hearing loss include:
- Clinical depression.
- Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline.
- Falls and associated injuries, which can be fatal in the elderly.
Patients with untreated hearing loss also have poorer healthcare outcomes overall, possibly because healthcare providers have difficulty communicating effectively with them due to poor hearing.
Steps to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise induced hearing loss can often be prevented. As a society, we have begun to recognize the effects of repetitive loud noises and have come up with some ways to combat it:
- Turn off your TV and computer at home and at the office. The use of television, games and computers can create stress on our ears.
- Use earplugs to keep loud noises at a manageable level. This can be especially helpful to workers in industrial and construction jobs, where noise levels tend to be higher.
- Turn down the volume when listening to music or the television.
- Plant more trees! Studies have shown that they absorb noise and can reduce levels by 5 to 10 decibels in the areas around them.
- Properly maintain and lubricate machinery to reduce noise vibrations and improve efficiency. By reducing the friction of movable parts, we can help reduce the noise.
- Establish a quiet area where you can go to get away from noise.
Need Help? Contact Us Today!
If you think your hearing is declining or if you work in a noisy environment, it may be time to schedule a hearing assessment. Our hearing care professionals at Anderson Audiology are here to assist you with your hearing health.
If you’d like to discuss further, come in and meet the team at Anderson Audiology. Call us today on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.