August 15, 2019

Listen up! Protect your hearing.

Noise is well, everywhere. But exposure to loud noise for too long and too often can cause damage to the auditory system, which can lead to permanent hearing loss. It is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.

According to Mountainside Medical Center Lead Audiologist, Lynn Moore, M.A., CCC-A, even simple everyday activities, such as listening to music with headphones, can put our ears in danger.

“Frequent and loud use of personal listening devices, firearm use, attending loud events (concerts, clubs, etc.) and industrial noise can put your ears at risk for damage,” Moore explained.

Using a lawn mower, leaf blower, snow blower and other power tools without appropriate ear protection can also lead to permanent hearing loss.

So what can we do to protect our ears? In agreement with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, Moore recommends using the following tips to listen safely and prevent hearing loss:

Use hearing protection. Standard earplugs are a safe option available for any individual. Musician’s ear plugs are a more advanced option that can be purchased online or have an audiologist custom fit. Hearing Protective Devices are available in earmuff style which are a great option for babies and children.

Keep your distance. Stand at least 500 feet from noise sources, such as near speakers, a stage or other type of noise emitter.

Know your limits. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing any ear discomfort, including ringing in your ears, remove yourself from the area.

In addition to taking proper precautions, visiting with a licensed audiologist is one of the best things you can do for your ear health.

“A visit is painless, often covered by your medical insurance and takes less than an hour,” Moore said.

If you find yourself on the fence about whether or not to meet with an audiologist, Moore recommends adults ask themselves the following questions:

  • Do you feel that others seem to mumble?
  • Do friends and family complain because they often have to repeat things?
  • Do you have difficulty understanding conversations in large groups?
  • Do people complain that you keep the television volume too high?
  • Do you hear better with one ear?
  • Do you have ringing or buzzing noises in your ears?

If you believe your child may have a hearing problem, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your child not speaking well for his age?
  • Does he/she often say “what”?
  • Is your child having difficulty at school?
  • Does your child have trouble following directions?
  • Has your child had frequent ear infections?

“An experienced, licensed audiologist will administer a variety of tests to determine whether you or your child have a hearing loss and if so, to what extent,” Moore explained. “He or she will then guide you as to the appropriate steps to take to help you communicate optimally.”

Hearing testing for all ages is available at Mountainside Medical Center. Call 973-429-6011 to schedule an appointment.

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