Tagged with 'hearing'

Sound Health and You: Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Adults

Noise Induced Hearing Loss in AdultsSound, as wonderful as it is, can be harmful to your hearing at high intensities. We bet you already knew this. But even sound that is extremely loud for a just a moment can be damaging. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), powerful, intense sounds can damage sensitive structures in your inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).1 To bring awareness to this condition and other sound-related issues, we’re kicking off a three part series called Sound Health + You.

 

 

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

While hearing loss is most commonly attributed to aging, noise induced hearing loss happens to children and adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 15% of adults between the ages of 20 and 69, and 16% of teens ages 12 to 19, have reported some degree of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) caused by exposure to loud noise without wearing proper hearing protection.2

Sound alarming? That’s because it is.

There is no grading scale for what can cause hearing loss; it can be a one-time exposure to an intense sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds, such as working in a factory, working with power tools, or even listening to music through head phones at a high volume every day.

“It is the sum of all of your exposures to sound throughout the day and evening that add together to damage hearing when that total becomes excessive,” notes Janet Ehlers, RN, MSN, COHC and Pamela S. Graydon, MS, COHC of the CDC.2

NIHL is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. Noise induced hearing loss in adults is commonly attributed to work environments. Understanding the health hazards of over exposure to loud noises is the first step to protecting your hearing.

 

 

Tips for Hearing Health

• Wear earplugs or sound cancelling headphones when involved in a loud activity

• If you can’t reduce a noise or volume, move away from it

• When listening to music, use the 60/60 rule: use 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day

• Have earplugs on hand for your children when planning high-volume activities

• Talk to family, friends, and colleagues about the risks of loud noise exposure

 

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of noise induced hearing loss in adults and children may go away in minutes, hours, or days after the noise ends. It’s important to recognize the signs early so you are able to avoid exposure to other loud noises while your ears are already impaired, as this can cause more severe damage.

Symptoms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss

• Feeling of pressure or fullness in your ears

• Muffled or distorted hearing

• Ringing in the ears when in quiet places

• Difficulty understanding phone calls

• Inability to hear someone talking three feet away

If you’re experiencing trouble hearing in your home, or simply wish to improve sound quality, call an Audimute Acoustic Sound expert at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice on soundproofing and acoustic solutions for your space.

Resources: 1 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.” Retrieved on April 12, 2016. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss#1. 2 Ehlers, Janet, RN, MSN, COHC and Graydon, Pamela S. MS, COHC. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Even a Dummy Knows October is Protect Your Hearing Month.” Retrieved on April 12, 2016. http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/10/11/protect-hearing/.

Sound Induced Hearing Loss in Adults

Sound Health and You: Age Induced Hearing Loss

Age Induced Hearing Loss solutions at homeAge induced hearing loss is a serious life altering condition, where one in three people over the age of 60, and one in two people over the age of 85, experience some type of age induced hearing loss.

 

Although it’s common, it’s not an easy adjustment to make. Recognizing the symptoms right away can make for a smoother transition into managing hearing changes with age.

 

Because so many factors can contribute to hearing loss as you get older, it can be difficult to distinguish it from noise induced hearing loss. While there is no single cause, it is most notably caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older.

 

 

 

 

Common Causes of Age Induced Hearing Loss

• Diabetes

• Poor circulation

• Exposure to loud noises

• Use of certain medications

• Family history of hearing loss

• Smoking

 

 

Hearing Changes with Age

Many people who experience hearing changes with age feel like a burden to family and friends talking around them, and begin to isolate themselves. Adding acoustic treatments, such as fabric sound panels, in social spaces at home can diminish sound clutter for cleaner room acoustics and more intelligible conversation for everyone. Incorporating acoustic treatments into these spaces early after the first signs of hearing loss can make the transition easier for everyone.

 

Symptoms of Age Induced Hearing Loss

• Muffled or distorted hearing

• Difficulty understanding phone calls

• Increasing TV and radio volumes higher than normal

• Feeling of pressure or fullness in your ears

• Ringing in the ears when in quiet places

• Inability to hear someone talking three feet away

If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble hearing at home, or if you simply wish to improve sound quality, check out our fabric sound panels or call an Audimute Acoustic Specialist at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice on soundproofing and acoustic solutions for your space.

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Health and You: How Loud is Too Loud?

Damaging sound levels

Whether it’s noise induced hearing loss or hearing changes with age, sound intensity and volume plays a prominent role in maintaining or altering hearing health.

Our lives are noisy and undeniably surrounded by sound. With so many sound frequencies hitting our ear drums, it’s important to know at what level sound becomes damaging.


So how loud is too loud?

Everyone experiences sound differently, making pain from noise volumes subjective. However, just because a sound doesn’t initially hurt someone’s ears doesn’t mean it isn’t doing irreversible damage.


According to Hear the World Foundation, “even low noise levels can trigger the release of stress hormones, leading to increased blood pressure. This in turn can lead to aggressive behavior and tensions in interactions with other people, as well as an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and tinnitus.”1

Bottom line, sound levels affect us in many ways – most of which are overlooked.

Common Sound Pressure Ratings:

Sound level intensity is measured in decibels (dB). When a sound increases by 10 dB, our ears perceive it as twice as loud, meaning 50 dB is twice as loud as 40dB. A normal conversation rating is 60dB. Here are eight common sound pressure ratings:

     • Normal conversation - 60 dB

     • Heavy city traffic - 85 dB

     • Motorcycles - 95 dB

     • Metal shop – 100 dB

     • MP3 player max volume - 105 dB

     • Chainsaw – 120 dB

     • Sirens – 120 dB

     • Firecrackers and firearms - 150 dB

Using an adapted example from Hear the World Foundation, imagine you and a friend are standing 3 feet apart:

     • At 70 dB, a conversation can be held at normal volume

     • At 90 dB, conversational voices must be raised

     • At 100 dB, a conversation must be shouted

     • From 105 dB and above, conversation is no longer possible1

The maximum recommended sound level intensity time per day is 8 hours at 85 db, roughly the sound of a busy street. For every 3 dB noise pressure increase, that maximum exposure time is cut in half, meaning at 95 dB (around the recorded level of factory work) the recommendation is only 4 hours.

So how can your hearing be protected?

Protect Your Hearing

Wearing protective gear like ear muffs or installing soundproofing and acoustic treatments can make all the difference in the longevity of your hearing health.

Do you live in the city? Do you live near an airport, fire station, or factory? Do you work in a repair shop, manufacturing plant, or around loud machinery? You can block or absorb sound waves before they’re able to reach and injure your ears with powerful solutions like:

     • Acoustic panels

     • Acoustic tiles

     • Acoustic ceiling clouds and baffles

     All of these sound solutions can be completely customized to fit your space, style, and needs.

Want to incorporate soundproofing into a space you’re building? Check out Peacemaker®, Audimute’s versatile sound barrier. Made from recycled rubber, Peacemaker offers both the professional and DIY builder an easy to install, reasonably light, and very effective noise barrier.

It’s impossible to always avoid dangerous sound level intensity, but it is possible to protect yourself from it.

If you’re ready to protect your hearing health at home or work, but you’re unsure where to start, call an Acoustic Specialist today at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice.


Resources:

1 Hear the World Foundation. “How Loud is Too Loud? When Does Noise Become Dangerous?” Accessed April 26, 2016. http://www.hear-the-world.com/en/hearing-and-hearing-loss/noise-how-loud-is-too-loud.html.