We live in a world full of sounds, especially in American Fork, Utah. The volume of these sounds can vary between safe and dangerous. Prolonged exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (this is the equivalent of city traffic) can cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss. So, what can you do to properly protect your hearing?
Protect Yourself from Loud Noise
The most common cause of hearing loss in Utah and throughout the country is noise-induced hearing loss. Fortunately, American Fork audiologists say that type of hearing loss is actually quite preventable. Simply following these steps:
- Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noise. Earplugs can be worn in most situations, from attending a rock concert to mowing the lawn. If you are exposed to loud noise on the job, your employer is required to supply you with appropriate hearing protection.
- Turn down the volume.
- Limit the number of appliances that are on at one time.
- Purchase quieter products.
Protect Yourself from Disease
There are some diseases that cause hearing loss. Viruses such as measles, mumps, whooping cough and rubella as well as bacterial diseases such as meningitis and syphilis have been linked to hearing loss. Acoustic neuroma – tumors on the hearing nerve (usually benign) – may also contribute to hearing loss. You can prevent these diseases by:
- Getting your child vaccinated.
- Using protection if you are sexually active.
- Seeking medical attention if you become ill.
Protect Yourself from Ototoxic Drugs
Some drugs can damage the sensory cells that are responsible for hearing. These ototoxic drugs include certain antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, salicylate pain relievers (e.g., aspirin), quinine (for treating malaria) and diuretics. In order to reduce your odds of hearing loss when taking medications, follow these tips:
- Take medications only as directed.
- If you experience symptoms of hearing loss such as tinnitus while taking a new drug, see your doctor immediately.
Protect Yourself from Ear Injuries
Head trauma can damage the temporal bones in the lower lateral walls of the skull, leading to hearing loss. To help prevent this type of injury, take the following precautions:
- Wear a seat belt at all times when in a car.
- Wear a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, and while participating in contact sports.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks, such as standing on the top rung of a ladder.
Contact your American Fork audiologist for more tips and tricks to protect your hearing.