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|Protecting Your Family from Noise Pollution
How to Avoid Noise-induced Hearing Loss
Research by the Content Manager
|Twenty-eight million Americans suffer from some form of hearing
loss.One-third of these people can attribute at least some of their loss to excessive
noise. There are two types of sounds that can damage the sensitive hair cells in the inner
ear that help make hearing possible. The first are extremely loud, sudden noises
such as explosions. The second are loud sounds experienced at such events as
high-volume music concerts. Regardless of the cause, this form of hearing loss can't be
reversed. The loudness of sound is measured in decibels (dB). The louder the sound,
the higher the decibels. For example, normal conversation is about 60 dB, city traffic is
approximately 80 dB and firecrackers can be as loud as 120 to 140 dB.
According to experts, sounds lower than 75 dB, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. But, sounds louder than 120 dB can damage hearing - especially after repeated or long exposure. Fireworks, motorcycles, gunshots, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, woodworking tools, and high-volume music can be dangerous because they emit sounds loud enough to potentially damage hearing. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, the noise around you may be loud enough to have a permanent effect on your hearing:
* Conversation is difficult to hear and you have to shout to be heard.
* While exposed to an extremely loud sound, you experience pain, a tickle or a piercing feeling in your ears.
* After leaving a noisy environment, your hearing is distorted or there's a ringing, buzzing or a roar in your ears.
The most effective way to prevent this type of hearing loss is to avoid dangerously loud sounds. If you or your child must be in an extremely loud environment, be prepared to protect your hearing with devices such as earplugs, which can be bought at most drug stores. Sound-muffling protection usually can be bought at hardware and sporting goods stores.
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