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Hearing Loss and Common Causes

Did you know 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss? Smartphones and music players are not the only things to blame. Everyday sounds like a hair dryer can damage your hearing. Take a look at some common sounds around you and your family that can cause hearing loss:

Common sounds

  • 20 Decibels – Ticking watch
  • 30 Decibels – Soft whisper
  • 40 Decibels – Library
  • 60 Decibels – Normal conversation
  • 70 Decibels – Vacuum cleaner
  • 80 Decibels – Alarm Clock
  • 85 Decibels – Heavy traffic *Permanent hearing loss occurs at 85 decibels
  • 94 Decibels – Audio headphones at average volume
  • 95 Decibels – Hair dryer
  • 105 Decibels – Audio headphones at max volume, chainsaw
  • 110 Decibels – Shouting into the ear
  • 115 Decibels – Rock Concert
  • 150 Decibels – Firecracker and firearm

What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss happens when the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged.  You can experience temporary or permanent hearing loss – it depends on how long you are exposed to noise. For example, going to a rock concert could cause you to have permanent hearing loss.

A word from Dr. Sullivan:
Hearing loss is one of the leading causes of patient’s reporting a decreased quality of life. Protecting hearing should start as early as birth. A leading concern among children and young adults is listening to music too loud through earphones. An old rule of thumb to help determine if you or your child’s music is too loud is to hold the headphones at arm’s length. If you can still hear the sound clearly then it’s too loud.

Noise exposure occurs outside of just earphones, however, and people of all ages should wear hearing protection any time they are around loud noises such as power tools, lawn equipment, firearms, riding a motorcycle, or with other occupational exposures. Make sure your ear plugs or earmuffs are clean, so no signs of wear, and fit snuggly over the ears without gaps or fill the entire circumference of the ear canal. Hearing protection is especially important for those individuals who already have some level of hearing loss. And parents, be sure not to forget to protect your infants and young children’s ears when attending loud sporting events or other activities.

How Premier Medical can help:
Remember, limit your exposure time to loud noises and always wear hearing protection in loud environments. If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with one of the ENT physicians at Premier Medical for a hearing exam.


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