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Sounds Of Summer - Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona
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Arizona's Authority for Tinnitus and Hearing Solutions - Full Service Audiology Clinic - Tinnitus Treatment, Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, Real Ear Verification

 

What Summer Sounds Can Damage Your Hearing?

Buzzing lawn mowers, booming sporting event speakers (and yelling fans), rowdy outdoor concerts, and crackling fireworks–these are welcome summer sounds. However, many sounds that we typically hear during the summer can be damaging to our hearing.

NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) results when the nerve fibers in the inner ear (cochlea) are damaged by dangerously loud sounds. The effect could be temporary or permanent. Sometimes, my patients do not even realize their hearing has been damaged. Years of cumulative exposure over a lifetime can lead to changes in hearing acuity.

Noise-induced hearing loss can happen at any age. A study performed by the CDC in 2011 discovered that at least 10 million adults under the age of 70 in the U.S. had incurred hearing loss in one or both ears from loud noise exposure, according to their hearing tests. The study estimates that 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years (approximately 5.2 million) and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years (approximately 26 million) have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.

When considering noise exposure, be aware of the following two variables: intensity (loudness) and duration (time). Noise-induced hearing loss can result from a one-time exposure to a loud noise or an extended exposure to a loud sound over a period of time.

SIGNS OF NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS

Many patients do not realize that they have noise-induced hearing loss since it can happen slowly over time. The change is gradual, and the brain simply adjusts to a lower hearing acuity. Our clinic commonly treats individuals with this problem who have (or had) worked in noisy environments (e.g. military, construction, landscaping, or factory settings). Even if hearing is screened routinely in high-risk environments, hearing loss may still not be noticeable immediately.

Patients with NIHL will routinely report ringing in the ears or muffled and unclear speech. These hearing abrasions inhibit their ability to follow conversations and hear within background noise. Sometimes, exposure to sudden or continuous noise can result in a temporary hearing loss that disappears after several days. However, although the loss of hearing seems to disappear, recent studies by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NICDC) suggest that your hearing may still incur residual long-term damage.

Hearing Loss in Tempe, AZ – How Does Loud Noise Cause It?

COMMON SOUNDS IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Sounds at or below 70 dB are unlikely to cause hearing loss, while long or continuous exposure to sounds at or above 80 dB can be damaging. The louder the sound, the more damaging the result.

Below are listed several sounds that you may hear commonly in your neighborhood or city:

      • Normal conversation    60-70 dBA
      • Motorcycles and dirt bikes*   80-110 dBA
      • Sporting events and concerts*   94-110 dBA
      • Sirens*   110-129 dBA
      • Fireworks*   140-160 dBA

*Dangerous decibel levels

(CDC 2021)

WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS?

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: The Causes And Preventive Measures

The following tips will minimize your exposure to loud sounds and protect your hearing:

  1. Lower the volume. Decrease the volume on your personal listening devices such as your phone or stereo.
  2. Wear hearing protection. Many different types of hearing protection are available: foam, muffs, and custom fit-hearing devices. Hearing protection can be found in most grocery stores or pharmacies. The disposable type is inexpensive and worth having. However, if you are around noise frequently, consider investing in custom hearing protection for comfort and convenience.
  3. Move away from the noise. Avoid the front row of the firework concert. Even so, you should still wear hearing protection.

At The Tinnitus and Hearing Center of Arizona, we care about the quality of your hearing and are equipped to answer your questions and concerns regarding sound safety. We can also provide custom hearing protection to those interested. Hearing is important in your life. If you think you are experiencing hearing problems, contact your local audiologist to see if you have noise-induced hearing loss.

Custom Hearing Protection

WORKS CITED

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics external icon. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; August 2008.

Niskar AS, Kieszak SM, Holmes AE, Esteban E, Rubin C, Brody DJ. Estimated prevalence of noise induced hearing threshold shifts among children 6 to 19 years of age: The third national health and nutritional examination survey. 1988-1994, United States. Pediatrics 2001;108:40–43.

 

 

Your Top-Rated & New Favorite Audiologists in Tempe, AZ

"My experience in 10 + years is nothing less than excellent. Allen and Amy are very knowledgeable in diagnosing your hearing needs and fitting with the right quality product for it. They always answer all your questions."

- Nancy M.

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"Friendly and courteous staff, they didn't waste time with things I already had done and had everything set up ready for me. The place isn't hard to find and the office is clean and everyone was very efficient. Definitely recommend!"

- Jennifer K.

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"Dr. Rohe and staff are very caring and professional. I have been a patient of Dr Rohe for 3 years and have nothing but praise for for his help with my tinnitus and hearing problems. I highly recommend him."

- Christina M.

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"The Doctor spent 2 hours with me and I feel better and hear better already! I have never been treated so well by any doctors. He is very knowledgeable and puts his training to work and the results are amazing!"

- James M.

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*The reviews listed are from actual patients of Tinnitus & Hearing Center of Arizona. Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.

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