Exposure to loud noises is a common cause of hearing loss among the population. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is characterized by a “gradual, progressive loss of high frequency hearing sensitivity that usually presents as a “notch” that occurs at or around 4000 Hz.” For more information on noise induced hearing loss, visit http://american-hearing.org/disorders/noise-induced-hearing-loss/ .
How can you protect your hearing? There are many ways to prevent NIHL, such as:
- Avoid or limit exposure to dangerously loud sounds
- Decrease the volume of music systems
- Move away from loud sound sources when possible
- If you must be around loud sounds, use appropriate hearing protection
- What kind of hearing protection devices are available?
At The Hearing Center, we offer a variety of hearing protection devices. Common devices include:
1. Swim plugs are designed to prevent moisture from entering the ear canal during swimming, showering and water sports
2. Shooter’s protection is designed to protect hunters/shooters from impulse noises up to 160 dB peak SPL. These devices can be made with special acoustic filters that allow for awareness of conversation and the ability to track animals. Industrial noise protection- Some work places require workers to wear custom hearing protection due to exposure to dangerous sound levels. Employees who work in industrial factories, construction sites and around aircraft equipment are likely to be required to wear hearing protection. Specialized devices can be made that can connect to radios for those who work in jobs that require radio use.
3. Musician earpieces provide hearing protection for musicians who practice and perform in a variety of settings. Depending on the source and location of the sound, different levels of attenuators can be used in the earpieces to allow for optimal hearing protection.
4. Custom sleep plugs can be used to promote interrupted sleep.
5. Custom fit ear tips for mp3 players or other headphones are designed to have standard earphones fit into a custom fit ear tip. These earplugs help block excessive environmental noise and allow the listener to turn down the music volume.
If you believe you have a noise induced hearing loss, or are at risk of one, make an appointment with your JHBI audiologist to discuss a custom hearing protection option that is suitable for your needs!
Gift giving ideas
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of gift ideas for those closest to you. This year, why not consider giving your loved ones a unique but useful hearing related gift? Whether they are hearing impaired or have normal hearing, below is a list of gift ideas that they are sure to love.
Custom hearing protection- Custom hearing protection is a great gift for so many different people in your life. Hunters, musicians and avid concert goers, to name a few, can all benefit from custom earplugs. Hearing protection can be made completely solid to block all sound (great for sleeping plugs!) or with various filters to let in animal noises or vocals in music. Custom plugs can also be made into earbuds/headphones, which are a great option for anyone on your list.
Hearing Aid Dryers – Hearing aid drying devices are a great gift for loved ones who use hearing aids. Dryers range from minimal to more advanced options that plug into the wall and use a germicidal lamp to disinfect. A drying device will extend the life of hearing aids, keep the user’s ears dry and clean and provide storage options both at home and while on the go.
Bluetooth Accessories- Bluetooth Accessories are a great option for someone that already has hearing aids. Bluetooth packages allow hearing aid users to “stream” or directly connect to audio from cell phones, television, iPads or remote microphones. These gifts are especially useful for anyone who is struggling to understand with his or her hearing aids. For more information on Bluetooth, please see on of our earlier blog posts on the topic (https://www.betterhearingjax.com/hearing-aid-accessories/)
TV Ears- TV Ears are ideal for someone who doesn’t have hearing aids but still struggles to understand the television or likes the volume turned up very loud. TV Ears are easy to use and can provide excellent sound quality at a reasonable cost. They are available in many different styles depending on preference.
Vibrating Alarm Clock – There are a lot of household accessories available for people who are hard-of-hearing or deaf to make daily life easier. One example is a vibrating alarm clock, which uses a bed shaker to wake someone from sleep instead of sound. Bed shakers and vibrating watches can also pair to cell phones, doorbells and landlines to alert someone of visitors or incoming calls.
Toys and Comics featuring hard of hearing or deaf characters – If you have a child on your buying list who has hearing loss, a hearing related gift might be just right for them. Marvel Comics has recently introduced Blue Ear and Sapheara, two super heroes who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. American Girl Dolls has also introduced hearing aid accessories for any of their 18” dolls. These options and others like them (including a host of different books) are relatable and educational for children with hearing loss, and may even help them to accept their hearing aids and cochlear implants.
The gift of better communication is one of the best gifts you can give this year. The above options are just a small sample of some of the ways you can use gift giving to help a loved one reconnect to the world of sound this holiday season.