Damaging sounds you might not think about

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

One of the common causes of hearing loss is exposure to loud or damaging sounds.

When reading this, it’s easy to think about thunderous noises. But, there are plenty of everyday sounds that can hurt your hearing as well.

1. Music. Listening to music puts you at risk of gradual hearing loss. Of course, it depends on the volume of the music and how you’re listening to it. Hearing issues occur when the volume is up beyond a safe range, particularly when wearing headphones. Loud music is made more dangerous when you listen to it for a long time. The simple thing to do is turn the volume down and give your ears a break every now and then.

2. Traffic and transport sounds. Traffic and transport sounds are some of the worst you will encounter, including car engines, horns beeping, subway cars screeching, motorcycles, police and ambulance sirens. All of these noises are too loud — and you hear them way too often. it is a good idea to wear protective earplugs or earmuffs when you’re out and about.

3. Household appliances. Believe it or not, some of the appliances in your home will hurt your ability to hear as well. Noise from appliances — blenders, food processors, dishwashers, dryers, handheld blow dryers and vacuum cleaners — are arguably the most damaging sounds because we don’t treat them as such. Begin wearing hearing protection whenever you use these appliances.

4. Construction noises. Construction sites can cause hearing loss because they create so much noise. If your neighbors are having work done on their house, you could be subjected to constant construction sounds for weeks on end. The main culprits are power tools and the equipment they use. Ironically, it’s clear that these tools create dangerously loud noises, as the operators will be wearing hearing protection! Learn from them and wear some sort of hearing protection, or try to find ways of avoiding construction sites.

Dr. Sarah Hickey, Au. D., is an audiologist and owner of Audiology Associates.