How To Protect From Some Forms of Hearing Loss
General Tips to Preserve Your Hearing:
- Limit your exposure to noisy activities and loud environments.
- At home, turn down the volume on the television, radio, stereos and walkmans.
- Wear ear plugs or muffs when using loud equipment (i.e. lawn mowers, power saw, leaf blower). Foam plugs are available at your pharmacy while muffs and specialized ear protection can be purchased at sporting good stores or safety equipment stores.
- Buy quieter products (compare dB ratings – the smaller the better).
- Reduce the number of noisy appliances running at the same time in your personal environment.
- Reduce hearing damage risks of certain recreational activities: video arcades, fire crackers, discos, music concerts, shooting a gun, movie theatres, sporting events, motor boards, motorcycles, snowmobiles, “boom cars”.
- Avoid medications that can be dangerous to your hearing. Be sure to ask your physician about possible effects on your hearing.
- If you work in an at-risk occupation where you may be repeatedly exposed to loud sounds, check with your employer to see what can be done. There may be some protections which are mandated by the government, for example there are guidelines for safe environments under OSHA regulations. Occupations particularly at risk are: firefighters, police officers, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, military personnel, heavy industry workers, musicians and entertainment industry professionals.
- Educate yourself on the symptoms of hearing loss and listen to your own ears. See our self-help article on 7 Danger Signs of Noise Induced Hearing Loss – NIHL. If you a suspect a hearing loss problem have your hearing checked by an audiologist.
- AudioLink offers a number of assistive listening devices to address some of the more common forms of hearing loss.
Extra Tips for Musicians and Audio Professionals
According to the House Ear Institute (HEI), “Advances in the electronics industry have made possible clean sound production at higher sound pressure levels. This has resulted in an average sound increase of 10-15dB in the work environments of musicians, audio engineers, record and movie/television producers, post-production mixers, dancers and other entertainment professionals.”
- Wear hearing protection when involved in a loud activity. Forget about tissue or cotton – these homemade devices only reduce noise by about 7 dB. They’re not effective.
- Be alert to noise levels in your environment.
- If you know a gig will go longer than usual (Grateful Dead length), decrease the intensity level on your monitors.
- Increase distance between you and the sound source – this means standing at an angle from the source – not in front of it.
- Take breaks during long sessions to give your ears a rest.
- If you think you’re risking your hearing as a result of prolonged exposure, (for instance sounds in excess of 85 dB SPL) buy a sound pressure level meter and measure SPL against the OSHA requirements. It ain’t cool – but neither is hearing loss!
Assistive Listening Devices
AudioLink offers a number of assistive listening devices to address some of the more common forms of hearing loss. For example TV listening systems can also be used with home entertainment centers including stereo CD players. Also personalized hearing devices like the Williams Sound Pocketalker are stylish and easy to carry along with you anywhere for your listening needs.Call AudioLink at 1-800-263-0112 for a free consultation on assistive listening devices.