We live in a noisy world. Not only does the overall noise level seem to be going up, but we are surrounded by a growing number of tools, toys and other gadgets that make noise. Just compare the noise made by a rake to that made by a leaf blower. Too much of that noise can permanently damage you and your child’s hearing.
Even a small loss of hearing can affect someone’s quality of life. The ability to hear well helps children succeed in school, in sports and other activities. As adults, the quality of hearing health may affect job opportunities and workplace safety.
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to protect your hearing:
- Turn it down. It can be easy to keep turning up the volume every time there's a quiet song or loud background noise. A good guide is half volume.
- Use sound-isolating or noise-canceling headphones. Rather than turning up your MP3 player to unsafe volumes, reduce competing background noise by using more effective earbuds or noise-canceling headphones.
- Use earplugs now . . . or hearing aids later. Take the "lawnmower test"—if something sounds as loud as a lawnmower, you need hearing protection.
- Pay attention to your genes. If your parents or grandparents have hearing problems, increase your efforts to protect your ears.
- Quit smoking and save your hearing. Smokers have a greater chance than non-smokers of developing hearing loss.
- Get your hearing checked. Hearing tests are painless, and you should ask your doctor for a test if you suspect hearing loss. Babies should have a hearing screening no later than one month of age. Young children should be tested at check-ups and when starting school. Adults age 65 and over should be screened periodically for hearing loss.
For more information, visit:
* Noisy Planet
* Listen to Your Buds
* MN Early Hearing Detection and Intervention