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Noise Exposure can Cause Irreversible Hearing Loss….How to Protect Ourselves?

Loud sounds can permanently damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that send sound information to brain. The damage can occur from a brief exposure to a high intensity sound or from chronic or frequent exposure to moderately intense sounds. Everyone is not equally affected by noise as sensitivity varies. Some people can withstand longer exposure to high intensity sound before it causes hearing loss. Smoking, diabetes and hypertension can also increase the risk of hearing loss. Men are at higher risk. All noises are not equal in their effect. It also depends on how loud is the sound, its frequency, whether it is intermittent or continuous and how far you are from the source.

Decibels is the unit of sound which ranges from 0 to 180 or more. Prolonged exposure to levels over 85 is risky and higher the level, the less time it takes to cause the damage. a level above 120 such as fireworks at close range, ambulance siren, gun firing can cause immediate damage. Sounds below a level of 75 are unlikely to harm the hearing. The ears never get used to noise. The person gets habitual psychologically to noise so it becomes less noticeable or less annoying, but the ear does not build up tolerance.

SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS
– Sound may appear distorted or muffled.
– People may sound like they are mumbling, especially when there is background noise.
– Ringing in the ears.

Listening to a personal music player is potentially very harmful. Some people are really unaware of how loud they listen the music, especially in noisy surroundings. If you experience ringing or muffled hearing afterwards, music was definitely too loud. Loud or persistent noise affects quality of life, both mentally and physically. It can disturb sleep, impair work performance and cause anxiety, irritability, depression and headaches. People also complain about increased blood pressure and heart rate and even heart abnormalities. Hearing loss from a single high intensity sound often improves, though it can take several months and your hearing may not fully recover. But if you are exposed to loud music regularly, permanent hearing loss is experienced.

– Turn down the volume of music players.
– Move away from the source of loud noise.
– Buy the quietest vacuum and other appliances.
– Use hearing protections.
– Keep your car’s muffler and exhaust system in good shape and use your horn only for emergencies.

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