Protect young ears in noisy environments

There are many causes of hearing loss. However, there is only one type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. That is hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sounds, or noise-induced hearing loss. Loud sounds can cause damage to the outer hair cells in the cochlea, which is the sensory organ for hearing. That type of damage is permanent and results in what is called sensorineural hearing loss.

It is important to note that loud sounds of any type can potentially cause noise-induced hearing loss, whether it is machine noise, classical music, lawn mowers, church choirs, etc. People have different opinions of what constitutes “noise,” but it is really about the sound intensity and the length of exposure time. If you have to yell to be heard over the noise in your environment, the noise levels are likely too high and could potentially cause permanent hearing loss.

In order to protect your hearing, you should consider using earplugs or earmuffs that are designed to reduce sound intensity when you are in situations with prolonged noise exposure, such as music concerts and loud work environments. Given that noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, it is especially important to protect the hearing of young children who are still learning and developing language skills. Also, teenagers and young adults should take care not to listen to music at high levels for extended periods of time, especially when using headphones or ear buds.

Noise-induced hearing loss often results in difficulty hearing high-frequency, consonant sounds (e.g., /s/, /k/, /f/, /t/, /th/) that provide speech clarity. It can cause speech to sound muffled and harder to understand. It can also be associated with tinnitus, or ringing and/or buzzing noises in the ear. If you think you or a family member may have hearing loss, it is important to get a comprehensive hearing evaluation.

Take control of your hearing health by protecting yourself from noise-induced hearing loss. Educate your children and other family members about hearing protection. Your ears will thank you!

You can contact Dr Keena James Seward at: (Coming soon)

By Dr. Keena James Seward, AuD, CCC-A/SLP

3L Therapy Solutions, LLC