Most people will lose some of their hearing over time. If you have been working in a loud environment, operating loud landscaping tools, being a musician, or just find yourself surprised by loud noises, then you may be at greater risk of losing your hearing. Hearing loss can be attributed to a variety of factors. These include excessive exposure to loud noises, exposure to ototoxins, blunt force trauma, chemotherapeutic agents, genetics, and cell deterioration over time. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common acquired form of deafness worldwide. It is caused by overexposure to sound waves of damaging intensity. The damaging effects depend on the intensity of the noise, the duration of the exposure, and the type of noise. This type of hearing damage is commonly referred to as sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). SNHL, also known as “nerve deafness” is often a result of noise-induced oxidative stress. Over 75% of deafness worldwide is due to SNHL. It causes deterioration of the nerve endings and sound sensory receptors in the cochlea, the inner ear organ of hearing. Noise-induced SNHL is the leading, potentially preventable and treatable cause of SNHL in the US and worldwide.
Although ear plugs and ear muffs are important hearing protection devices, and we highly recommend their use, they cannot always be worn due to safety considerations, or due to incompletely protection from damaging noise. It has been shown that noise can penetrate your skull, bypassing your ear protection devices, and cause hearing loss. So a combination of limiting your exposure to loud sounds, wearing hearing protection and taking The Hearing Pill® are safe and effective ways to optimize hearing health.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in its Hearing Conservation Amendment of 1983, requires hearing conservation programs in noisy work places. This includes a yearly hearing test for the approximately five million workers exposed to an average of 85 dB or more of noise during an 8-hour work day. Ideally, noisy machinery and work places should be engineered to be more quiet or the worker’s time in the noise should be reduced; however, the cost of these actions is often prohibitive. As an alternative, individual hearing protectors are required when noise averages more than 90 dB during an 8-hour day. When noise measurements indicate that hearing protectors are needed, the employer must offer at least one type of earplug and one type of earmuff without cost to employees. If the yearly hearing tests reveal hearing loss of 10 dB or more in higher pitches in either ear, the worker must be informed and must wear hearing protectors when noise averages more than 85 dB for an 8-hour day. Help protect your job by taking The Hearing Pill®.
Musical instruments can generate considerable sound and thus can also cause hearing loss. The most damaging type of sound is in the high-frequencies. Violins and violas can be sufficiently loud to cause permanent hearing loss. This is typically worse in the left ear, which is nearer the instrument. Unlike other instruments, the ability to hear the high-frequency harmonics is crucial to these musicians. Mutes can be used while practicing to reduce long-term exposure. In addition, attending live concerts (where noise levels can exceed 120 dB) can damage hearing, as well as listening to loud music through headphones.
It is estimated that 30 million individuals are exposed to damaging levels of noise each day. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
ATTENTION PARENTS: 20 million of 6-19 year olds and 17% of 30 year olds have experienced some type of hearing loss as a result of excessive exposure to noise as a result of MP3 players, iPhones and other personal music devices. (healthypeople.gov)
Based on the current exposure limits, one in four will eventually develop permanent hearing loss as a result of occupational exposure to noise hazards. (National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety)
The military spends more than $1.5 billion each year in compensation, re-training, and equipment replacement due to hearing and balance disorders. (Office of Naval Research)