Hearing, a sense which many of us take for granted, is unfortunately something which, once lost, cannot be fully regained. This is why it is of the utmost importance to take precautions to preserve your hearing, especially as the World Health Organisation informs us that half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable1.
One of the ways we can protect ourselves from hearing loss is by being aware of the effects of prolonged exposure to loud environments. In Australia, it is estimated that excessive noise is the cause of 37 per cent of hearing loss cases2.
Even though we are constantly surrounded by noise, when the volume reaches dangerous levels, even for a brief period of time, it can damage our sensitive inner ear, resulting in noise induced hearing loss (NIHL).
When does noise become damaging?
Any noise under the 75 decibel (dB) level is, on the whole, considered unlikely to cause damage to our hearing. However, prolonged or repeated exposure to volumes at 85 dB and above can lead to NIHL3. This risky volume level is the equivalent of heavy city traffic, with sounds such as motorcycles, sirens and even music players at maximum volume exceeding the 85 dB mark.
One of the other causes of NIHL amongst younger people is thought to be listening to personal devices at damaging volumes for extended sessions. Not only a leisure activity, headphone use is also becoming common in open plan office situations to isolate individuals from other distractions.
If you think that you or a loved one might be affected by noise-induced hearing loss, click here or call 1300 674 934 to book a no cost* hearing check-up with Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions.
1World Health Organisation, Deafness and hearing loss. Accessed April 28, 2015. Available here.
2Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training, Noise induced hearing loss. Accessed April 28, 2015. Available here.
3National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Accessed April 28, 2015. Available here.