Most of us are used to listening to a constant level of sound, so much so that pure silence would come as a shock to us. However, Annual International Noise Awareness Day has rolled back around to remind people to be aware of the harmful impact of sounds that are too loud.
The 28th Annual International Noise Awareness Day took place on Wednesday (April 26th), with events held all over the world to tell people about the negative effects loud noises can have on their hearing, health, and lifestyle.
Exposure to noises higher than 85dB, which is the NIOSH recommended limit, can lead to hearing loss. A normal conversation measures at 60dB, a hand drill at 98dB, a chain saw at 110dB, and a pneumatic precision drill at 119dB.
Hearing loss occurs after sound pressure causes damage to the nerve fibres in the inner ear. This means people who are exposed to loud machinery, live music, and noisy transportation are more likely to suffer premature hearing problems than others.
In fact, the World Health Organization anticipates 1.1 billion people aged between 12 and 35 are at risk of losing their hearing because of the level of noise in recreational settings, such as music venues.
Currently, loud noises are the number one cause of hearing loss for 466 million people who suffer from it.
Hearing loss does not just impact people physically, but in many other ways. For instance, loud noises can make the body feel more tense and increase anxiety, aggression and blood pressure over time.
Loud sounds make it difficult to learn, particularly if there are already signs of hearing loss. This could make children and students struggle in class and lose their self-confidence with their studies.
Recently, research has shown a connection between hearing loss and dementia. According to a study published in The Lancet, hearing loss could be linked with eight per cent of all dementia cases.
This suggests hearing loss is the biggest risk factor for dementia that can be prevented, which is why it is so important to take steps to protect hearing for the long-term.
Those who are worried about losing their hearing due to their everyday environment should pay attention to warning signs. The Annual International Noise Awareness Day campaign reminded people these include ringing or buzzing in the ears after exposure to loud noises, muffling of sounds, and difficulty understanding what people are saying.
“Whenever you experience hearing issues like these, you are encouraged to see a licensed audiologist who can assess your hearing, address any issues and help you protect the hearing you have,” the organisation stated.
While anyone who is experiencing some of the hearing loss symptoms already will be worried, they can take steps to improve their ears. Firstly, they should turn the volume down on their music, and wear hearing protection in loud environments. These include earplugs and custom earbud headsets. They should also move away from the source of the sound, such as the speakers.
It is sensible to book regular checks to make sure their hearing is up to scratch, and follow any recommendations made by the audiologist on how they can improve their lifestyle to protect their hearing.
To check if your hearing has deteriorated and you may need to consider implementing ways to protect yourself against loud noises, book an appointment at a Huddersfield audiologist today.