How to avoid hearing loss

Hearing loss, as the term states, is the mitigation in one’s ability to hear speech and sounds around him or her. The impairment of any part of the ear or nerves that coordinate the conveyance of sound waves to your brain can result in hearing loss.

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The ad hoc exposure of the ear to accidents and loud sounds from factories and other sources makes it difficult for various individuals to prevent themselves from hearing loss. However, the occurrence of hearing loss may be due to old age, which you can not prevent —it is inevitable.

How loud sounds cause hearing loss

You can not avoid the hearing loss that is due to loud sounds. Loud noise specifically affects the inner ear’s cochlea.
Inner ear
The inner ear is a part of the ear that contains a snail shape structure occupied with a certain fluid known as the cochlea. The inner ear also contains stereocilia, which are commonly known as tiny cells —their primary purpose involves the detection of sound; hence they are sound receptors. The sound that enters the ear causes vibration, followed by waves in the cochlea fluid. The increment of the waves in the cochlea fluid stimulates the stereocilia (tiny hair cells) to bend, which results in the conversion of the vibration to electric signals. These signals will be conveyed by the auditory nerves to the brain for the transcription of the sound to what we recognize and fathom.

When an individual exposes his or her ears to loud sounds, two things occur in the inner ear.

– The impairment of the cells and membranes in the cochlea

– The death of tiny hair cells (stereocilia) due to excessive work

The occurrence of these damages to the inner ear due to exposure to loud sounds will result in hearing loss, which will progress sporadically if the individual continues to expose his or her ears to loud sounds.

It is clear now that loud sounds can cause damage to the part of the ear that coordinates the conveyance and the conversion of the sound waves to electric signals, which results in hearing loss that may be temporary or permanent. However, there are several procedures to follow to forestall loud noise from causing a permanent impairment to your hearing ability —they include:

– The avoidance of loud noises
– The protection of your hearing during loud events and activities
– You should be watchful of the volume of music you listen to
– Taking precautions at work
– Testing your hearing capacity

The avoidance of loud noise

The avoidance of loud noises is the most significant factor that will protect you from hearing loss due to ear damages caused by loud noises. However, noise can cause damages to your hearing ability if you notice the following:

– The increment in the pitch of your voice when talking to someone
– The inability to hear what people at proximity are saying
– The occurrence of intermittent ringing in your ears
– The occurrence of a virtual blockade in your ears against sounds after you have left the realm of loud noises

The intensity and duration of the loud noises your ear is exposed to will determine your susceptibility to hearing loss. One can tell, however, tell if a sound is loud or not without measuring the intensity of the noise level. However, you can measure noise in decibels (dB), whereby an increment in the number will cause a drastic increase in the degree of noise (the noise becomes louder). The intensity of sounds varies in decibels from whispering to louder sounds from several sources such as motorbikes and busy traffic sounds. The intensity of various sounds in decibels are shown below:

Whispering sound — 30 dB
Conversation sound — 60 dB
Busy traffic sound — 70 to 85 dB
motorbike sound — 90 dB
Listening to music on headphones with full volume — 100 to 110 dB
Sound from a plane taking off — 120 dB

The protection of your hearing during loud events and activities

The protection of your ears from loud sounds that occur in several events or activities such as gigs, night clubs and sports games can forestall you from hearing loss. You will be safe from ear damages in such events and activities if:

  1. You stay far away from the sources of loud noises — such as speakers.
  2. You use hearing protector such as earplugs that mitigates the amount of sound that finds its way in your ear.
  3. You prevent the exposure of your hearing to any loud sounds for at least eighteen hours after its earlier exposure to loud noises.
  4. You take an intermittent break from the noise at fifteen minutes intervals at least.

You should be watchful of the volume of music you listen to

One should be watchful of the volume of sound that comes from the music he or she is listening to because the proximity of his or her earphone or headphones is liable to cause damages to one’s hearing. The susceptibility of hearing loss due to the volume of one’s music can be forestalled by the use of noise cancellation earphones and headphones, not listening to musics with a volume that is above sixty percent, and avoiding the use of earphones and headphones for more than an hour without taking at least five minutes break from sounds.

Testing your hearing capacity

The earlier occurrence of a hearing loss is usually subtle with no severe symptoms that can be ignored until it becomes severe.
Hence, it is advisable to visit a physician to run a hearing test on you, especially for individuals that work in facilities that expose them to loud sounds —such as musicians and industrial factory workers.

Hear loss primarily occurs when there is damage to the inner ear region that converts the sound waves that enter the ear to electric signals picked up by the auditory nerve —which convey it to the brain for its transcription into what you can comprehend. However, loud noises can alter this process, which results in hearing loss. There are several procedures one must take to forestall hearing loss, among which the most effective procedure is the avoidance of loud noises.

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