On any given day, we expose ourselves to a wide variety of environmental sounds. For the most part, these sounds are at safe levels that do not damage our ability to hear. However, noise can be detrimental to our hearing when it is too loud or is long-lasting. Sustained exposure to these types of sounds can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Thankfully, you can prevent NIHL through an awareness of what environments put you at risk for hearing loss.
In busy cities, you may endure sound levels of 60 dB to 110 dB. Sirens, traffic noise, and other environmental sounds can lead to NIHL. Researchers are now working with city employees and planners to create safe work environments for those who work or live in the city. America’s largest city, New York, is conducting a five-year study to monitor the sounds of Manhattan to detect unhealthy noise levels. In Texas, quiet concrete is undergoing testing.
Jobs can be noisy. High decibels at work are so common that nearly one in five US workers exposes themselves to hazardous workplace noise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related disorders in the United States. Workers in public transportation, construction, and musicians are at particularly high risk. It is essential to restrict your exposure to loud noises at work and wear proper hearing protection such as earplugs.
It is no surprise that restaurant noise is a significant complaint from diners. Sound levels of 80 dB to 90 dB are possible in dining areas. If you find yourself shouting at your dinner companion, there is a good chance you are exposing yourself to too much noise. A great prevention tool for loud restaurants is the SoundPrint app for your smartphone. The app will allow you to find quiet venues throughout your city.
All of that lawn mowing, hedge trimming, and leaf blowing might be doing more damage than just leaving you exhausted. These yard tools can easily reach sound levels of 100 dB and higher. It is critical that you wear hearing protection when working in your yard.
Work is not the only time our hearing might be in jeopardy. Your choice of entertainment might be harming your ears too. Loud concerts and sporting events can seriously impair your ability to hear. Sound levels at these events can range between 105 dB to 130 dB! It is crucial that you take time to protect your hearing at these events. If you are a regular attendee of such events, you may want to visit a hearing healthcare professional for a pair of custom earplugs made especially for you.
What You Can Do
Our lives are full of noise levels capable of permanently damaging our hearing. Make an appointment to see a hearing healthcare professional for a hearing consultation today. Please remember to wear proper hearing protection when working and playing. Make use of helpful tools like the SoundPrint app to help you avoid those loud places.