Imagine a dangerous sound – something that could potentially cause damage to your hearing.
You're probably thinking of a loud, disruptive noise, like something you'd hear at a construction site, or a military base. While these sorts of sounds are indeed dangerous for your ears, you can also face risk of damaging your hearing from seemingly harmless, everyday sounds.
Here we look at how hearing loss can occur in subtle ways, and what you can do about it.
Can everyday sounds cause hearing loss?
This revelation comes from a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America, which found that you don't need to work in a noisy environment to suffer from hearing loss1.
The CDC examined hearing test results of over 3,500 people and found that over half of those surveyed (53 per cent) who had noise-induced hearing loss reported that they weren't exposed to loud noise at work2. Furthermore, this hearing damage occurred in those as young as 20 years old1.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is also a considerable issue here in Australia, with over a third of all cases of hearing loss caused by an overexposure to loud noise3. The National Standard for Occupational Noise protects our hearing in the workplace by making sure we aren't exposed to volumes above 85 decibel (dB) over an eight-hour period4, however, there are no such clear-cut rules when it comes to our own recreational listening.
What sort of sounds can be dangerous for our hearing?
The CDC notes that overexposure to loud noise through using a leaf blower or attending a music concert or sporting event can be just as damaging as working in a noisy environment2.
In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also identified listening to personal music players at loud volumes as another cause of hearing loss, especially in younger people between the ages of 12-355.
If you've been finding it hard to hear other people clearly in a noisy environment, or you find their speech is muffled, it might be an early sign of hearing loss. It's vital to act sooner rather than later to prevent your hearing from getting worse, so if you suspect yours has changed, come and see us at AudioClinic. You can click here to request your FREE* hearing check. or give us a call on 1800 940 984.
1 CDC, New Vital Signs study finds noise-related hearing loss not limited to work exposure. Accessed May, 2017.
2CDC, Too Loud! For Too Long! Accessed May, 2017.
3Department of Education and Training, Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Accessed May, 2017.
4Safe Work Australia, Occupational noise-induced hearing loss in Australia. Accessed May, 2017.
5WHO, 1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss. Accessed May, 2017.