Common myths about noise-induced hearing loss

People are exposed to a variety of noises every day. Power tools, the lawn mower running, and the radio in the car are a few examples of everyday sounds that all have the ability to damage hearing if they’re loud enough or if your exposure is long enough. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss, and it affects millions of Americans.

If you are suffering from hearing loss and need treatment, contact our doctoral-level audiologists today!

Many people don’t realize how harmful exposure to noises can be, and their hearing could be permanently damaged as a result. Let’s debunk these common myths and protect you and your family’s valuable hearing.

Myth: A few seconds of loud noise won’t damage my hearing.

Fact: Just one loud gunshot or short, sudden sound is enough to cause noise-induced hearing loss. While long-term exposure to loud noises is the more obvious culprit, even one brief, extremely loud sound can damage hearing in one or both ears.

To be safe, wear proper hearing protection anytime you expect to be exposed to loud noise, such as concerts, live shows, gun shooting, or firework displays. Look for hearing protection devices such as earplugs or earmuffs that list a noise reduction rating (NRR) on the package.

Myth: I keep my headphones turned down or don’t use headphones, so I don’t need to worry about noise-induced hearing loss.

Fact: Loud music from headphones is a common cause of noise-induced hearing loss, but many other sounds can damage hearing. Power tools, lawn equipment, motor boats, playing in a band, and exposure to machines and factories at work can all cause hearing loss, which can be permanent. Even the sound of heavy traffic at 85 dB can damage hearing permanently if you’re exposed to it for too long.

Myth: I went to a loud concert last night and my ears are ringing – but it’s too late to do anything about it now.

Fact: You may be able to minimize damage to your hearing if you act fast and treat your hearing with care. For starters, avoid loud sounds for at least 16 hours to help rest your ears. If you notice you still have ringing or trouble hearing after 48 hours, contact your audiologist.

In the future, always move away from loud sounds or prepare yourself with proper hearing protection devices if you must be exposed to noise. This can help protect the hearing you still have.

Myth: I can still hear people and things around me, so I don’t have noise-induced hearing loss.

Fact: Often, the signs of noise-induced hearing loss are gradual and difficult to notice at first. A person may think others are mumbling, and have trouble hearing conversations. They may turn the TV up louder than they used to. Over time, it becomes harder and harder to hear everyday things and the hearing loss becomes substantial. Often, hearing loss is noticed by friends and family members before the person affected realizes it has happened.

Myth: Younger people don’t need to worry about hearing loss.

Fact: Noise-induced hearing loss is a concern for all ages, and young people can suffer temporary or permanent loss of hearing from exposure to loud noises. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that 16 percent of teens have already experienced hearing loss that could be due to noise exposure.

Ensure your child’s or teen’s ears are properly protected when they are attending loud concerts or shows, or anytime they may be around loud equipment such as tractors, leaf blowers, or recreational vehicles.

Are you concerned about exposure to noise and hearing loss? Associated Audiologists has doctoral-level audiologists who can help. Request an appointment today to talk about how we can help you prevent future damage and effectively treat noise-induced hearing loss.