Protect yourself from noise

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Loud noises are all around us and even a single event can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Trauma to the inner ear from noise exposure can lead to permanent tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and/or NIHL.

By Mary Malik

Loud noises are all around us and even a single event can cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Trauma to the inner ear from noise exposure can lead to permanent tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and/or NIHL.

“Common noise from equipment like lawnmowers, power tools, farming equipment and activities like concerts, sporting events and fireworks are all culprits of NIHL,” says Dr. Sarah Curtis, Au.D., owner of Sounds of Life Hearing in Mentor. “The risk for permanent damage depends on a combination of the amount of time of exposure and the volume.”

Dr. Curtis says that a single rifle shot may pose as much or even more risk than four hours at a loud concert. She suggests protecting yourself from loud noises with some obvious responses, like turning down the volume, moving away from the noise and wearing hearing protection.

“Other options include earmuffs, foam earplugs, rubber flanged earplugs, and custom-molded earplugs,” says Dr. Curtis. “Ultimately, the best kind of hearing protection is the kind that fits.”

Dr. Curtis also reminds us not to forget our kids for ear protection. If you know they’ll be exposed to things like fireworks, loud music, and even parades, remember to protect your children’s ears.

“If you have a history of loud noise exposure and experience ringing in your ears or hearing loss, get a hearing evaluation by an audiologist,” says Dr. Curtis. “An audiologist can help with general and specialty earplugs, including filtered ones for musicians and active ones for hunters.”

If you’re interested in more information, Dr. Curtis suggests “It’s a Noisy Planet” (NoisyPlanet.nidcd.nih.gov) as a resource. And stop by Sounds of Life Hearing to pick up free ear plugs before that next loud event.

Sounds of Life Hearing Center is located at 8007 Auburn Road, Suite 1 in Mentor. For more information call 440-579-4085 or check the website SoundsOfLifeHC.com.