Exposure to loud noise is known as noise-induced hearing loss. It is one of the most common (and most preventable) types of hearing loss. Your American Fork audiologist estimates that nearly 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 are experiencing hearing loss that is the result of exposure to excessively loud noises.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by sounds over 85 decibels (dB). To put this into perspective:
- Exposure to sound over 85 dB (busy American Fork traffic) can cause damage within 8 hours
- Exposure to sound over 100 dB (chainsaw) can cause damage within 15 minutes
- Exposure to sound over 120 dB (a jet taking off) can cause damage instantly
It is common for people to put themselves in harm’s way through their hobbies. High-risk pursuits include hunting, riding motorcycles and snowmobiles, attending rock concerts, listening to music at high volume through earbuds or headphones, and even mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower.
Are Musicians at Risk of NIHL?
Musicians in American Fork and throughout Utah spend their days (as one would imagine) exposed to loud music. Being around these dangerously loud sounds can lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
Want some good news? There is hearing protection designed specifically for those exposed to loud music exist – musicians earplugs. These plugs allow the user to enjoy the music while reducing the risk of developing permanent hearing loss.
Traditional earplugs, while successful at blocking out noise, also block out music and speech, causing it to sound muffled or distorted. High-fidelity, custom-made earplugs are different. These earplugs are able to reduce sound levels evenly while keeping the original quality of the music intact. Not only does this lead to music and speech that is clear and natural, it also allows musicians to hear their own instruments.
Musician earplugs are made up of a diaphragm and earmold that work together to produce attenuation (reduction in sound) that is smooth and flat across the entire frequency range.
These earplugs can be used by more than just the people playing in the band. If you frequently attend concerts, you are putting your hearing at risk. With these earplugs, you are able to hear the music clearly, while still protecting your hearing.
Contact your American Fork audiologist to learn more about musician earplugs and other ways to protect your hearing.