There are several reasons for hearing loss, some of which are within your control. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is preventable and can be caused by such things as workplace equipment, loud music, leisure activities (i.e., snowmobiling, hunting etc.) and repeated long-term exposure to lower-level noise. When this sensorineural hearing loss occurs, it is not reversible. Even if you already have had some hearing loss, your hearing can be still be damaged from noise exposure.
There are warning signs that you have been exposed to excessive noise levels:
- ringing in the ears
- conversations sound muffled
- temporary decline in hearing
If these symptoms continue for more than a few hours or days, it is advisable to seek medical attention and have your hearing tested to determine if your hearing has been damaged.
Here are a few of the steps you can take to protect yourself:
- wear hearing protection when using noisy machinery such as snow blowers, lawnmowers and power equipment
- employers should issue hearing protection when working in noisy locations
- reduce the volume of personal stereo equipment with or without headphones
- limit exposure to loud noises (i.e, wear hearing protection at a concert)
The simplest hearing protection is readily available in the form of earplugs and/or earmuffs.
The best option for musicians is custom fit musicians earplugs because that specific type of hearing protection decreases the overall noise level without distorting the sound or music.
This clinic makes custom – fit to your ear – hearing protection for your needs.
Check out the Make Listening Safe post for more information about hearing loss and noise exposure.