FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 3, 2018) — Did you know that you can permanently lose your hearing due to exposure to loud noise?
Thirty-six million Americans have hearing loss. One in three developed their hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise. During Better Hearing Month this May, the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) and audiologists across the nation are encouraging Americans to protect their hearing by:
- wearing hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85 decibels for a long period of time;
- turning down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player or anything through ear buds and headphones; and
- walking away from loud noises.
“If you suspect you have a hearing loss, there is no better time than this month to get a screening,” said Virginia L. Moore, executive director of the KCDHH. “If you find that you have a hearing loss, it can make you feel isolated. KCDHH can help you navigate the many options available.”
As a first step, people who think they may have hearing loss or other hearing disorders should see a certified audiologist. These professionals specialize in preventing, identifying, assessing and treating hearing disorders. Also, they provide treatment for hearing loss including properly-fitting hearing aids and other assistive listening devices, and they can teach people with hearing loss how to concentrate on hearing all sounds.
The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85 dB, such as concerts, sporting events, lawnmowers, fireworks, custom car stereos and more. A brief exposure to a very intense sound, such as a firearm discharge near the ear, can also damage your hearing.
Noise is considered dangerous if you have to shout over background noise to be heard, it is painful to your ears, it makes your ears ring during and after exposure, or if you have decreased or “muffled” hearing for several hours after exposure.
Hearing impairment not only affects your ability to understand speech but it also has a negative impact on your social and emotional well-being. If you suspect you may have hearing loss, make an appointment to see an audiologist. He or she will perform a hearing test to determine the type and severity of hearing loss you may have.
KCDHH, which serves over 700,000 Kentuckians, acts as an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing persons on legislative issues and serves as a consultant to the Governor, General Assembly, and various state and local governmental agencies concerning policies and programs that pertain to people with hearing loss. KCDHH also provides information, referral and advocacy services and produces the biennial DeaFestival-Kentucky. More information is available about KCDHH at www.kcdhh.ky.gov.