Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. A single shot from a shotgun, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposures to loud machinery, over an extended period of time is responsible for Hearing Loss.
- Ten million Indians have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise; thirty million are exposed to hazardous noise levels each day.
- The risk and harmful effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually.
5 Ways to Prevent Hearing LossHearing loss can't always be prevented – sometimes it's just part of getting older. But hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises is completely avoidable. There are some simple things you can do to help stop loud noises from permanently damaging your hearing, no matter how old you are.
1. Avoid loud noisesThe best way to avoid noise-induced hearing loss is to keep away from loud noise as much as you can. Generally, a noise is probably loud enough to damage your hearing if:
- you have to raise your voice to talk to other people
- you can't hear what people nearby are saying
- it hurts your ears
- you have ringing in your ears or muffled hearing afterwards
- whispering – 30dB
- conversation – 60dB
- busy traffic – 70 to 85dB
- motorbike – 90dB
- listening to music on full volume through headphones – 100 to 110dB
- plane taking off – 120dB
2. Take care when listening to musicListening to loud music through earphones and headphones is one of the biggest dangers to your hearing. To help avoid damaging your hearing:
- use noise-cancelling earphones or headphones – don't just turn the volume up to cover up outside noise
- turn the volume up just enough so you can hear your music comfortably, but no higher
- don't listen to music at more than 60% of the maximum volume – some devices have settings you can use to limit the volume automatically
- don't use earphones or headphones for more than an hour at a time – take a break for at least 5 minutes every hour
3. Protect your hearing during loud events and activitiesTo protect your hearing during loud activities and events (such as at nightclubs, gigs or sports events):
- move away from sources of loud noises (such as loudspeakers)
- try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes
- give your hearing about 18 hours to recover after exposure to lots of loud noise
- consider wearing earplugs – you can buy re-usable musicians' earplugs that reduce the volume of music but don't muffle it
4. Take precautions at workIf you're exposed to loud noises through your work, speak to your human resources (HR) department or manager. Your employer is obliged to make changes to reduce your exposure to loud noise – for example, by:
- switching to quieter equipment if possible
- making sure you're not exposed to loud noise for long periods
- providing hearing protection, such as ear muffs or earplugs