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Noise and Hearing Conversation

Noise Exposure…

 

  • NOISE CAN CAUSE A PERMANENT HEARING LOSS – BUT IT CAN BE PREVENTED!!

 

How Much is Too Much?

  • Brief exposure to very loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss.
  • Longer exposure to sounds louder than 85 dBA, such as a lawnmower, can also be damaging.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set standards for when hearing protection is required in the workplace. Requirements are based on noise level (loudness) and length of exposure.

Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)

  • TTS is a temporary decrease in hearing after exposure to noise- hearing slowly recovers overtime. However, repeated TTS can lead to a permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus.

Tinnitus

  • Tinnitus is the sensation of sound (ringing, buzzing, etc.) with the absence of acoustic stimuli. Tinnitus often occurs after exposure to excessive noise and is a good indication that you were exposed to too much noise and should be using hearing protection.

Hearing Protection

  • Hearing protection is the only thing that can help protect your hearing when in noisy environments.
  • Various sizes and types of devices are available. An audiologist can help you find the best device for your situations.
    • Foam Inserts– expandable foam that you roll up and insert deeply into your ears. These are often inserted incorrectly, thus reducing effectiveness.
    • Custom Earplugs– requires an impression of ear canal (completed by an Audiologist). These can be reused and are very comfortable as they are a “custom” fit.
    • Earmuffs– large cupped plastic cushions that fit around the entire ear. They look like very large headphones.

Annual Hearing Evaluations

  • If you are regularly involved in noisy situations, whether at play or at work, regular hearing evaluations will let you know if you are using the correct hearing protection.
  • Those involved in activities such as motor/drag racing, concerts, hunting or target practice, farming, running large tools or machinery, should be using ear protection and have a hearing test on an annual/biannual basis.