The most common causes of hearing loss are aging and noise exposure. While growing old is unavoidable, hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises, known as noise-induced hearing loss, can be prevented. Understanding what environments pose the largest risk can help you prevent hearing loss in the future.
Understanding Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Anything over 85 dB is considered unsafe and can cause permanent hearing loss.
We are exposed to loud noises constantly. While avoiding rock concerts and firework spectaculars is helpful to your hearing, you may be surprised by the dangerously loud environments you are in every day.
Busy cities like Huntsville and Birmingham can register sounds as loud as 110 dB, mostly due to sirens from police and ambulances and the machinery being used on construction sites.
In 2016, New York City, the largest city in the country, began a five-year project called Sounds of New York City (SONYC). Researchers places hundreds of sensors around the city to learn more about where dangerously loud noises come from. The results of this study will be used to combat noise pollution and build safer cities.
Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Those working in construction and public transit are most affected by unsafe noise levels. But less common jobs such as classical musicians are also at risk.
If you work in a loud workplace, know that your company is legally required to provide you with proper hearing protection. Contact your human resources department for more information.
Restaurants can be very loud, especially in the late-night hours. Many review sites are starting to include decibel ratings as part of their scoring system so patrons can make more educated decisions of where to dine.
If you want to eat at the trendy spot without compromising your hearing health, try heading there for lunch instead of dinner. Select a table far away from the kitchen and choose a seat with your back to a wall to help prevent distracting background noises from ruining your conversation.
Fortunately, hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise is preventable with proper planning. Contact the experts at North Alabama ENT today for more information.