Safety Tips to Prevent Deafness and Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the partial or complete inability to hear sound in the right, left, or both ears. There are five main types of hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is typically caused by an interference of sound transmission between the middle and outer ear. Sensorineural hearing loss, also known as “nerve deafness,” is caused by damage to the acoustic nerve or to a component in the inner ear. Central hearing loss is caused by a problem within the central nervous system. This condition involves the person’s inability to filter auditory signals, resulting in missed sentences or a problem hearing while several conversations are going on at once. Functional hearing loss is both an emotional and psychological issue that is not caused by any damage or abnormality to the ear. Finally, mixed hearing loss is the combination of two or more types of the hearing loss conditions mentioned above. Both sensorineural and conductive are present in both ears with mixed hearing loss, and therapy is typically required for an effective treatment.
The measurement of hearing loss requires a comprehensive hearing evaluation by a professional physician in this field. During the evaluation, frequency-specific tones are played to determine the function of loudness. The results of the hearing loss measurements are plotted onto an audiogram with “loudness” on the y-axis and “pitches” on the x-axis to determine in which the hearing loss lies. A general guideline is followed to determine the degree of hearing loss. Normal hearing is generally in the range of 0 to 25 dB HL, mild hearing loss between 26 to 40 dB HL, moderate hearing between 41 to 70 dB HL, severe hearing loss between 71 to 90 dB HL, and profound hearing loss greater than 91 dB HL. There are several ways that one can protect their hearing from becoming worse. It’s always important to protect your ears from loud volume, music, or sounds, such as construction. Work-related hearing loss is quite common while working in loud environments, making is essential to wear effective ear covering. Cell phone headsets and music player ear buds are two common causes of hearing loss. Although these devices are typically okay to use on occasion, blasting sound into the ears can lead to gradual hearing loss. It is also important to give your ears a rest whenever possible; this may require moving yourself to a quiet area for relaxation or even mediation. It is also essential for the ears to stay clean on the outside and inside. Partial hearing loss can be caused by a build-up of wax in the ear that prevents sound waves from being transmitted.
There are many myths about hearing loss. One of these myths is that hearing problems are a rare occurrence. In fact, hearing loss makes up nearly 10% of the population with many not seeking medical attention for their problem. More than half of these individuals are under the age of 65, also confronting the myth that only the elderly lose their hearing. Another common myth about hearing loss is that you should yell to make someone with hearing loss understand you better. Speaking loudly or yelling can actually be painful for someone with a hearing loss and will typically not make the conversation sound any clearer. Many people believe that a hearing aid will help to get back complete hearing when used. Hearing aids are not able to restore normal hearing but usually make it possible for them to carry on a normal conversation. Hearing loss is generally misunderstood and many believe that those with partial hearing cannot simply hear sounds loud enough. Although that is part of the problem, some people with hearing loss may only have trouble hearing when in a crowd or words may seem like they are being mumbled together.Follow the resources found below to learn more about hearing loss and how to prevent it:
- Hearing Loss in Infants and Adults: Learn about the causes of hearing loss, such as infection, and when you should contact a medical professional for help.
- National Institute of Aging: Information on how to determine if you have hearing loss and which type of hearing loss you have.
- National Institute of Deafness & Other Communications Disorders: Here you will learn about noise-induced hearing loss and its causes, symptoms, and effects.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Information on what you should know about hearing loss, and statistics on hearing screening in infants.
- Hearing Loss in Seniors: Description of hearing loss, causes, prevention, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, research, and frequently asked questions.
- Types of Hearing Loss: Learn how we are able to hear and review a diagram of the workings of the inner ear.
- Hearing Loss and Deafness: Here you will find information about hearing loss and deafness in women and their causes.
- Early Hearing Loss Prevention: Resources and information on how to prevent hearing loss from early detection.
- Newborn Hearing Screening Program: Learn how newborns are screened through an evaluation on how their hearing is measured and classified.
- Risk Factors for Hearing Loss: Information on the risk factors that can contribute to hearing loss in infants.
- Type, Degree, and Configuration of Hearing Loss: Types of hearing loss and a chart to determine the degree of hearing loss one may have.
- Hearing Loss Association of America: Learn how to get help for your hearing loss and watch a video series of how hearing loss occurs.
- Kids Hearing Loss: Children can learn about the types of hearing loss, its causes, how a doctor diagnosis hearing loss, and how it is treated.
- American Academy of Otolaryngology: Information and a quiz one can take to test their hearing and determine if they may have hearing loss.
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation: Information and tips on how to prevent hearing loss, such as avoiding loud noise and using ear protection.
- Basics of Hearing Loss: Definition, symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, tests, treatment, and prevention of hearing loss.
- Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention: Information and resources on how to prevent hearing loss and the importance of early detection.
- Noise & Hearing Loss Prevention in the Workplace: A brief description of hearing loss and the hazards of noise in the workplace. It’s important to always use proper ear protection.
- Teaching Kids about Hearing Loss: This website provides resources for children and their parents regarding hearing loss and how to prevent hearing loss.
- Understanding the Responsibility of Hearing Loss prevention: Employees and employers both need to take responsibility to preserve a healthy work environment, this includes preventing hearing loss.