October is National Protect Your Hearing Month
October is National Protect Your Hearing Month. Now we know, nowadays, every month seems to have a theme. Why not make October a month about protecting your hearing?! Honestly, as an Audiologist, every month should be “Protect Your Hearing” month. Oftentimes, in the clinic, I hear time and time again people say’ ” if only I had protected my hearing”. They say this because truly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You see, loud noise can be damaging to your hearing. And no, I’m not just talking about coming home after a concert or hanging out at a loud restaurant/bar only to “sleep off” the ringing in your ears. That ringing in your ears, by the way, has a name, it’s called tinnitus. Tinnitus is an early warning sign that your ears have been damaged by noise exposure.
What I really am referring to, however, is the noise you subject yourself to on a daily/weekly/monthly basis that you are clueless about. How many of you listen to your phone with insert earphones? Who likes to work in their yard or farm? Do any of you enjoy shooting firearms? If so, then ask yourself, am I properly protecting myself when I participate in these activities? You may think, does it really matter? The answer is ABSOLUTELY! You see, noise exposure is cumulative. That means, the more you are exposing yourself to loud noise over time, the more your ears become damaged. Unfortunately, that damage is permanent as there is no cure for hearing loss as a result of noise exposure.
So, What Can I Do to Protect My Ears?
I’m glad you asked. First, check out the previous blog article, How Do I Know if It’s Too Loud? This article provides you with details on a great Sound Level Meter app to download and can help to answer whether something may be too loud.
Second, follow the advice of the American Academy of Audiology by using the EARS Method.
A- Avoid Loud Sound
R- Reduce the Level of Sounds
S- Shorten Time in Loud Environments
Lastly, if you feel like you have suffered damage to your hearing from noise, don’t waste time. Go and see an Audiologist. Or if you’re like most people, others will probably tell you you can’t hear before you notice it yourself! An Audiologist may not be able to help you regain your hearing per se but the sooner it is on the radar, the better. Don’t take for granted your ability to hear. Protect it, you’ll be glad you did!