Hearing loss from loud noise is surprisingly becoming common these days. In fact, according to 2018 statistics, around 466 million people around the globe are suffering from disabling hearing loss from 120 million that was recorded in 1995.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is one of the common causes of hearing impairment today, particularly in adults. It is a type of hearing impairment, which is resulted from frequent exposure to loud sounds. However, there are also cases where impulsive or short but high-intensity noise (such as from air horn or gunshot sound) can cause hearing problems, either temporary or permanent. Unfortunately, NIHL isn’t immediately noticed until it becomes worst, either one or both of the ears.
What causes NIHL?
NIHL are both caused by exposure to continuous and “impulse” intense sound.
Frequent exposure to intense sound can cause both temporary and permanent hearing problems. The common NIHL cases are work-related NIHL; people who are working as one of the airplane ground staff, construction workers, drummers, musicians, and individuals who work at concert grounds during concerts.
“Impulse” intense sound exposure is often referred to as exposure to one-time but a damaging sound that often occurs when there are nearby big explosions and nearby gunshot. This is one of the reasons why shooting ranges require their gun shooters to wear protective hearing gear.
Here is how decibels are commonly rated through average decibel ratings:
- A normal conversation has 60-70 dBA
- Movie theaters often emit 74 – 104 dBA
- Racing motorcycle engines produce 80-110 dBA
- Recreational activities such as attending a concert, using headphones with volume maxed, and some events can produce sounds with 94-110 dBA
- Sirens emit sounds at 110-129 dBA
- Fireworks, as mentioned, can emit 140-160 dBA.
Any sound that has decibels above 80 is already dangerous to human hearing.
Is there a way to avoid NIHL?
NIHL or Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is a preventable condition, but not curable or irreversible. If you want to keep your hearing in its good condition, here are the top ways on how to avoid NIHL:
#1: Avoid using too much earphones when listening to loud music.
#2: Use hearing protection, especially when you know you are highly exposed to these kinds of sounds almost every day. You may find it confusing to choose which hearing protection is the best, try to get additional details at DoctEar’s website at https://doctear.com/.
#3: Be aware which noises are hazardous.
#4: To reduce the risk of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, try to move away from loud noise if you are promptly exposed to it.
#5: Always protect your child’s hearing from loud noises; use hearing protection if needed. A child’s hearing is sensitive; frequent exposure to intense sound can lead to early NIHL.
The prevalence of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL is now surprisingly increasing; in worst cases, constant exposure to high-sound with decibels above 80 will lead to complete hearing loss. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent NIHL, one of which is to wear hearing protective gear.