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Prevent Hearing Loss From Noise

Updated on July 2, 2011

If only we could close our ears at times, because sometimes noise is virtually impossible to get way from. Heavy machinery, noisy car horns, blasting noise from 'wannabe' musicians in a garage, the banging of repairs on that roof and so much more are common situations we face from day to day. Not only is noise unpleasant, but it is harmful. Even great sounding music can turn out to be dangerous for the health of our ears. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NHL) is typically not a sudden condition, but gradually occurs over several years. Most people who encounter NHL don't even realize that their hearing capabilities are decreasing.

Sounds that are damaging to your ears are TOO NEAR, TOO LOUD that go on for TOO LONG.

illustration from
illustration from
Illustration by David Crooks
Illustration by David Crooks

How can you limit your exposure to noise?

You can limit your exposure to noise, by being aware of and sensitive to how noise affects your ears. Basic ways to reduce the impact of noise in common situations are as follow:

  1. As a rule of thumb, if you can hear the audio from your headphones without having them on, then the volume is more than likely too high.
  2. Wear ear muffs or ear plugs when working in a highly noisy environment. Working with medium to heavy machinery is enough to damage the nerves in the inner ear. So, if you are on a shooting range or using your lawnmower, it is recommended to wear ear protection.
  3. If possible, get away from the noisy environment as soon as possible.

In summary these principles are TURN IT DOWN, WALK AWAY or PROTECT YOUR EARS as from dangerousdecibels.

How to know if you have a hearing impairment?

In the case where you are wondering if you or someone else is having hearing problems, you may notice certain symptoms.

  • Do you often have ringing in the ears?

  • Do you find yourself having to ask people to repeat?

  • Do people complain of you not hearing them?

  • Do others complain of you shouting (when in fact you think that you are speaking with reasonable volume)?

A combination of these symptoms don't necessarily mean that you have NHL, as it could be as the result of wax-buildup or even the effect of aging. It is best to check with a physician to check the reason(s) for the challenge of hearing.

Additional Tips

  • By understanding how the ear works, you may be better able to appreciate how sensitive your ears are.
  • If you work in noisy environments, it is wise to purchase ear plugs or ear muffs as soon as possible.
  • It is also a good idea to get a pack of disposable ear plugs that you can use when relevant.
  • Teach your children about the importance of protecting the ears.
  • If possible, eliminate unnecessary noise in your controllable environment.
  • Have an auditory exam/hearing test at least once a year.

Avoid making the mistake of believing that a little noise won't hurt you!

Don't believe that if it's TOO LOUD that you're are TOO OLD. Those who say so are probably deaf.

Protect your ears and preserve your hearing.


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    • theblackedition profile image

      Shane Brown-Daniels 7 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks simplestuff!

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      simplestuff 7 years ago

      great article :)