How to Prevent Modern-Day Noise from Damaging Your Hearing

By Kate Harveston 

Noise from gadgets and loud environments is becoming unavoidable, especially in urban areas. Though people often accept increased noise as part of the fast-paced digital age, experts are beginning to realize the real threat modern-day life might pose is to our hearing.

People haven’t been living around constant loud noise for very long. Before the industrial revolution, noise from machinery was limited, and exposure to dangerously loud sounds was rare. Today, however, reliance on convenient but noisy motors — as well as increased population density — means that many people are constantly surrounded by noise too loud for their ears to take without damage.

Sound is measured in decibels — the higher the decibel number, the louder the sound. Over time, the vibrations of loud sounds can cause damage to the structure of the inner ear, including the nerve cells that send signals about sounds from your ears to your brain.

Exposure to sounds above 80 decibels can put you at risk for hearing loss. For reference, a typical conversation registers around 60 decibels, heavy traffic is between 80 and 90 decibels and music at a particularly raucous concert could be as high as 110 decibels. Even louder sounds — such as a close gunshot or jet engine — could leave you at risk of a severe and permanent injury, even if exposure is limited.

Whether you wake up to the sound of a loud highway or just enjoy listening to your favorite music on the bus, you need to take measures to protect your hearing. By being conscious of risks and taking precautions, you can be proactive in preventing extreme hearing loss down the line.

Turn Down the Volume

If you’re wearing headphones for a significant portion of your day, you could be putting yourself at risk for hearing loss. Headphones pump sounds directly into your ears — volumes set too high can cause real damage.

Many phones can easily deliver 100 decibels of sound at the highest volume setting, which is far too loud to be considered healthy. The World Health Organization predicts that more than one billion young people are at risk of hearing loss from the misuse of personal headphones.

You don’t need to throw away your headphones altogether to protect yourself from possible hearing damage. By limiting headphone use to 90 minutes per day and keeping volume levels low, you can continue to enjoy the sounds of your day safely.

Use Earplugs or Noise-Canceling Headphones

Not all noise is directly controlled with the touch of a button. In busy, urban areas, people are exposed to loud noises almost constantly. Construction sites, roadways and airports can damage human hearing as much as loud music, but people have become mostly oblivious to this ambient noise.

Exposure to unwanted noise is on the rise, and it’s a menace in public spaces. Even in homes and workplaces, loud background noise can be irritating and dangerous.

To limit the risk of hearing loss, use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out noisy surroundings and make you more comfortable. If loud sounds surround you at the office, talk to your supervisor or HR manager and see if there’s anything they can do to improve the environment. Some countries even require employers to provide hearing protection for employees if they’re regularly exposed to certain levels of sound.

Watch for Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is an increasingly common problem in a noisy world and it can significantly impact the quality of life. Though there are treatments for almost all types of hearing loss, most people wait about seven years before seeking professional help. That’s far longer than recommended, and early detection can be key in preventing further issues.

To ensure your hearing is safe, it’s a good idea to look out for symptoms so you can contact your doctor at the first sign of a problem. If you hear ringing in your ears, struggle to understand conversations or find yourself increasingly turning up the volume on the TV, it’s probably time to get your hearing checked.

Take a Noise Vacation

Avoiding loud noise is the best way to protect yourself from hearing loss. Getting away from excessive sounds — even for a few hours — lends your ears a break. If you can, take a vacation from the loud sounds of modern life. This might involve stopping noisy hobbies like going to concerts, escaping into a quiet room or visiting a natural area unaffected by noise pollution.

Loud sound exposure is, unfortunately, all too common in modern-day society. By taking steps to protect your hearing and removing extreme noises whenever possible, you set yourself up to have a much better shot at being able to rely on your hearing for years and years to come — even when life around you gets loud.

Kate is an online journalist from Pennsylvania. Her passions lie in writing about health and healthcare. You can find more of her work at her personal blog, So Well, So Woman.

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

34 comments

Val P
Val P13 days ago

ok

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Elizabeth M
Past Member 2 months ago

many thanks

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Martin H
Martin H2 months ago

ear plugs are a fine idea--they'll keep me from hearing the alarm clock!

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Mike R
Mike R2 months ago

Thanks

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Past Member
Past Member 2 months ago

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Past Member
Past Member 2 months ago

My name is ethan micheal ,am from USA.i want to share my wonderful testimony on how i got back my husband back, who i sworn ever to be with until when he left me to another woman for no reason and i try to make things work for both of us yet things where getting worse and i love him so much and there is nothing i could do to get my husband back until i met a testimony share by a woman called Stella tea from Australia on the internet talking about a powerful spell caster who brought her husband back within 24hours and i decide to give it a try and to my greatest surprise he also did it for me just as he did for Stella and i have a lot of people complaining of fake spell caster but this one i met was a real spell caster who help me to solve my problem i have no solution to,i introduce many of my best friends that have a similar problems,and their problem were solve with the great help of PRIEST WISDOM .who help them to get back their lovers within 24 hours.i am so happy that my husband is back to me again,and the most surprising thing is that our love is very strong,every day is happiness and joy. and there is nothing like been with the man you love.i am so happy my love is back to me with the help of PRIEST WISDOM if you have similar problem i will advice you to contact him ,he is there to help you and put a smile on your face as he did to me and others.contact email supernaturalspell1@gmail.com you can call /whatsapp +2348124644470

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Richard B
Richard B2 months ago

thanks for this

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Teresa A
Teresa Antela2 months ago

Noted. Thanks

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Mona M
Mona M2 months ago

0 chance here in India to expect the environment to improve, but lots of opportunities to create soundless vacations. thank you for this useful information.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O3 months ago

Never wear earphones. These are the worst because they plug noise straight into the delicate structures of the ear. Headphones are slightly better. But ideally do not use either one. Keep speaker sounds moderate.

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