There’s never a bad time to learn about ways to protect your hearing, but May is an especially great time. That’s because May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)!
What Is Better Hearing and Speech Month?
Established in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), it provides a way to raise awareness about various hearing and speech issues and encourages people to take steps to prioritize their hearing health.
Protect Your Hearing Health by Reducing Exposure to Loud Noise
While many factors can increase your risk of hearing loss, one of the most common is exposure to loud noise. Research has shown that everyone, even children and young adults, is putting their hearing at risk.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “an estimated 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.”
Activities That Can Cause Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Any prolonged exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can cause noise-induced hearing loss, with louder sounds needing less time before they can start to damage your ears. Many common activities regularly reach volumes at or above this level, including:
- Hunting or shooting
- Riding motorcycles
- Working in loud environments like construction sites
- Attending sporting events
- Listening to live music at Riverside Theatre or other Vero Beach venues
- Chores like leaf-blowing or mowing the lawn
- Listening to music loudly via headphones or earbuds
Ways to Protect Your Ears From Loud Noise
You don’t have to stop working in louder environments or quit seeing live music in order to keep your hearing safe. Just keep the risks in mind and consider the following:
- Use hearing protection like earplugs, earmuffs or custom earmolds in loud environments
- Take regular breaks from the noise either by walking further away or turning off the music on your headphones for a bit
- Making sure you keep the volume below 85 decibels when listening to music or other media on your headphones or earbuds
Consider a Hearing Test
Another great way to protect your hearing is to schedule a hearing test. If you don’t have hearing loss, hearing tests can establish a baseline to compare to future tests, which makes it easier to identify when changes have occurred. If you do have hearing loss, your audiologist can catch it more quickly, making treatment options like hearing aids all the more effective.
Consider a hearing test if you’re:
- Experiencing signs of hearing loss or tinnitus
- Are regularly exposed to loud noises at work
- Are 50 or older
For more information on how to protect your hearing or to schedule an appointment, call Aaron's Hearing Aid & Audiology Center today.