Hearing Loss can have a very profound effect on people’s lives, yet it is something we tend to ignore until inevitably it is too late. Yet, there ARE ways to prevent hearing loss. A few simple guidelines can make all the difference.
In the workplace.
The most recent health and safety executive guide state that exposure to noise levels above 105 dB (decibels) for more than 15 minutes per week can cause hearing damage.
Millions of people are exposed to loud noise in the workplace every day. All employers should have a health and safety policy and it should contain the noise levels of loud equipment. Ask your employer for this information if you think you may be at risk. For example, a chainsaw has a noise level of between 115 – 120 dB.
If your employer doesn’t have the information on how to prevent hearing loss, then insist that they get it. This is your health after all. Make sure that that your workplace provides the proper protection necessary, i.e. ear plugs or headphones or whatever is most suitable for your particular situation.
Prevent hearing loss when playing music at home.
Whether you blast the latest tunes through a speaker or other device at home, there is a simple rule to protect your long term hearing.
It is called the 60/60 rule. This states that you keep your device at a maximum of 60% of its volume for no more than 60 minutes per day. Anything more and you run a real risk of damaging your hearing.
Going clubbing or to a concert/festival.
Most clubs or music venues, in general, will play music in excess of 100 dB. Do you know that if listening to music at this level for a period of 2 hours, it will take your ears approximately 16 hours to recover?
Without wanting to be a killjoy (who doesn’t love a good session?) a couple of simple steps can help prevent your hearing being overloaded. Take short breaks in a quieter zone. Go for a breath of air for a few minutes. You can also wear ear plugs that still let you hear the music but reduce the noise down a few levels.
The recommended upper level of sound is 89 dB. A normal person talking will reach about 60 dB. Someone shouting can reach 80 dB.
We all tend to get carried away when watching the TV or listening to the radio and can often not notice that the volume has gone up, especially if people are also talking during a program. It is important to keep the TV or radio volume to the level of a normal conversation.
Most people will tend to have a set of headphones for use with their iPod or phone, especially when they are doing exercise or running etc…
It is important not to just buy the first thing you see or simply go for the cheapest or most colorful option. Take a bit of time and research the product. This is your health don’t forget. In particular, look at headphones that reduce background noise. This will allow you to hear your music more clearly at a lower volume level.
These are just a few general guidelines that will help you have good hearing health for many years to come. The better you look after your hearing now, the better it will serve you in the future.
I am sure that we have all indulged in one or more of the above at some time. I wear two hearing aids but still love my music festivals. One of the best and probably the most effective ways to prevent hearing loss is to get your hearing tested on a regular basis. If done regularly then any drop in hearing can be detected and further loss prevented.
I hope you have found this helpful. As always I welcome any comments you may have or any further questions that you think I may be able to help with. Comments can be left below and I will reply as soon as possible.
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