Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hear! Hear!

Ever have that funny ringing in your ears that just won't go away?  Maybe feel like you can hardly hear anyone around you and you have to speak-up to be be heard?  Maybe everyone thinks your audio mix sucks, but they won't tell you?  It could be that you have suffered hearing damage. This can be very serious, as most damage is collectively irreversible - it just gets worse, and never gets better.

"Say what?"  "Huh?"  "Could you please repeat that?"  "Speak-up a little, I didn't quite get that."  Sound familiar?  It could be that you have suffered hearing damage and aren't aware of how extensive it is.

There is Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS) which is where your ability to hear quieter sounds is diminished but recovers over the next day or so.  This is common if you are working around loud machinery or at a loud concert.

Then there is the more serious part:  The permanent damage.  Each time you are exposed to loud sounds you can loose a little bit of your hearing forever.  Hearing Loss is cumulative and is not reversible.

Another common symptom is the ringing in your ears that just won't go away.  This is Tinnitus.  The intensity may vary over time, but it, too, is generally permanent.

What can you do to prevent further damage to your ears?  Learn about hearing loss prevention and educate those around you.  It is important to involve others as it is often noises that occur due to the actions of others that affect you the most.

A good first step is to get a base-line assessment of your current hearing capabilities. Go to a hearing specialist (audiologist) and have your hearing tested.  Keep a record of the test.  Go back for regular check-ups to see of you hearing damage is getting progressively worse.

What you can do:
  • Wear hearing protection whenever possible.  This can be in-the-ear-canal 'plugs' or it can be over-the-ear 'muffs' or headsets.
  • Warn others, and have others warn you, if they are about to make loud noises like hammering, dropping metal objects, or running saws.
  • Post Hearing Protection information and signage around the workplace.
  • If other workers or management don't want to recognize the problem, then see about getting a wearable noise exposure meter (Personal Noise Dosimeter) so you can document the sound levels in your workplace.  Yes, these work in rock-n-roll nightclubs, too, where both the patrons and the staff can be exposed to excessive sound levels night after night.
  • If you use ear-buds, headphones, or loudspeakers to listen to music, make sure that you are not 'cranking it up to 11'.  Discipline yourself to be reasonable (hey, you neighbors will appreciate it, too).
H.E.A.R. -
Earbud -
db Logic -
House Ear Institute -
iHearSafe -
Hearing Protection Guide -
Hearing Loss Prevention Organization -
Dangeous Decibels -
Web MD -

1 comment:

  1. Really very well explained and useful too. You can avoid hearing damage following above mentioned tips. Thanks for sharing.