What Could Be Causing Hearing Loss in Your Everyday Life?

What Could Be Causing Hearing Loss in Your Everyday Life?

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

Do you have hearing loss? You may not even know it. One in eight people have hearing loss in the United States in both ears based on standard examinations. While you may think you are out of the clear if you are above 60 years of age it’s important to understand that you are in fact still at risk for hearing loss. While one in three 65 and older have hearing loss and this jumps to one in two for those 75 years and older, hearing loss is an issue you need to be on the outlook for at any age. Unaddressed hearing loss can lead to a host of connected health complications from chronic depression, rifts in relationships, learning issues, lower wages, social isolation, loneliness, cognitive decline and a higher risk of falls and accidents leading to hospitalization. 

Hearing loss is permanent which means that you should do everything in your power to avoid it. The World Health Organization warns that the world rate of hearing loss will rise in the next thirty years if proper education is not practiced on personal and institutional levels. So we ask you this: Do you know some of the most common risks of hearing loss in your everyday life? There may be more you engage with every day without being the wiser.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Acquired hearing loss is any hearing damage incurred after birth, which accounts for most cases. The most common cause of acquired hearing loss is most likely due to high levels of noise exposure. This can include workplace situations where long shifts and noisy jobs are the perfect storm to damage workers’ ears. However, some causes of noise induced hearing loss often occur at home and during leisure without anyone being the wiser until you struggle to hear too noticeable levels.

Some common causes of noise induced hearing loss in our everyday lives include: 

Power tools: If you work from home then you are going to want to follow the same safety standards as they do in professional settings. Power tools are handy but they can deliver sound levels loud enough to damage hearing in moments. To put this in perspective, sound is measured in decibels and any sound over 85 dBA for eight hours or more can cause hearing loss, making a workplace a perfect storm to cause hearing loss. As the decibels rise, the time it takes damage to occur shrinks. Power tools deliver an average of 90 dBA, loud enough to cause hearing loss in around an hour!

Guns: Are you a gun enthusiast? They are amazing and powerful machines but they must be used wisely. Along with a great social responsibility, guns can generate decibels high enough to damage hearing in seconds. Make sure you always have the correct hearing protection to make sure you don’t make a quick mistake and have hearing loss for life.

Headphones: Headphones connected to personal listening players can generate sounds as high as 100 dBA which can damage hearing in around 15 minutes. However, due to endless streaming possibilities, it is common for people to listen for hours. Make sure to take listening breaks and keep the level turned down to no higher than 60 percent of the potential volume.

Rush hour: The world around us keeps getting busier, more built up and loud. If you live around traffic or commute regularly, it’s important to monitor your exposure to the honking of horns, truck engines, radio playing, engine noise and more. Keep your windows rolled up when you can in favor of the AC when in traffic.

Medications: noise isn’t the only danger to our ears. Certain medications are classified as ototoxic, meaning they can damage the tiny hair like cells of our inner ear. While this includes prescription drugs such as diuretics, antibiotics, and some chemotherapy drugs over the counter medications for pain relief such as ibuprofen, and acetaminophen have been found to increase the risk of damage to your hearing as well. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about hearing loss connected to your medications.

If you suspect that you have hearing loss, it is important to act on it as soon as possible. Schedule a hearing exam with us today and we can get to the root of all of your hearing issues.