This May, join us in celebrating Better Hearing & Speech Month. This month-long event was originally created in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to heighten public awareness about hearing loss and speech disorders. The goal of Better Hearing & Speech Month is to encourage people to take action if they believe there might be a problem with their hearing or speech.
We believe that one of the best ways to help spread the word and take action is through education. Knowing what can cause hearing loss can help you prevent it in the future, not only for yourself but for those you share the message with.
Below are some unhealthy habits that may play a role in your hearing health.
Avoiding the Doctor
Going to the doctor is nobody’s favorite pastime. But taking a proactive approach to your health and seeing your doctor regularly can help establish your baseline hearing, which is helpful in the future if you think something may be wrong. They can use this baseline information to determine if there is a change in your hearing.
Obesity and inactivity are linked to a number of disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease. Both of these lead to poor blood circulation, which can affect your ears and brain and make it harder for your body to receive and interpret necessary information. This can lead to hearing loss.
Listening to your music at a loud volume can cause noise induced hearing loss.
A 2010 study found that an iPod set to its maximum volume paired with a set of standard earbuds produces an average sound level of 96 dB. This level is higher than what is legally allowed in any workplace. One study found that about 25 percent of people who use personal music players are exposed to daily noise levels that can cause damage. Another study found that 90 percent of all adolescents listen to music using earbuds; almost half of those individuals use a high-volume setting that can cause hearing loss.
This one should come as no surprise, as smoking cigarettes has been linked to a wide variety of conditions. In addition to damaging your lungs and increasing your risk of heart disease, it can actually harm your hearing. The chemicals that are in cigarettes can build up in receptor sites in your brain, preventing you from hearing certain levels of sound.
Exposing Yourself to Loud Noises
Anything over 85 decibels can cause permanent and irreversible hearing loss. The sound of Austin city traffic measures around 80 dB and a rock concert checks in around 120 dB.
While some sounds, like the volume of your music, can be controlled by you, many others are outside of your control. This is where hearing protection comes into play, typically in the form of earmolds, monitors or headphones. Your Austin audiologist can help you determine which product is best for you.