Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing even after the exposure has stopped. Hearing loss from noise may not be obvious at first, but symptoms can build up over time. Most people don’t have any warning signs until their hearing is already damaged. If loud noises don’t bother you as much as they used to, that means you’ve probably already lost some of your hearing.

man with headphonesMany common activities such as sporting events, listening to loud music, using noisy power tools and watching TV at a high volume can put you at risk for hearing loss over time. In most cases, hearing loss from noise exposure is a preventable condition. Here are some tips on how you can protect your hearing.

Get a baseline hearing test

A hearing test gives your audiologist a baseline they can compare with future results to monitor the progression of hearing loss.

Wear protective hearing gear

When you are in a noisy environment, wear protective hearing gear such as earplugs or protective earphones. For people who are regularly exposed to noise, your audiologist may recommend custom ear plugs. Think ear protection before you’re exposed to any noisy environment, such as:
  •  Concerts or any type of loud performance
  • Construction sites
  • Lawn mowing or leaf blowing
  • Auto racing
  • Hunting or shooting 
man playing guitar at concertMonitor the volume of your devices

While you are watching TV or using mobile devices, keep the volume at a comfortable level. It should be loud enough that you do not need to strain to hear, but not so loud that when you leave the room, you can still hear it from another part of your home.

Recognizing the varying levels of hearing loss can be a challenge, but these signs should serve as signals for people to see their audiologist:
  • Hearing a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears (tinnitus).
  • You need to turn the television volume up, which others say is uncomfortable. 
  • You have a problem hearing on the phone or hear better in one ear than the other when on the phone.
  • You have to frequently ask people to repeat things. 
  • You have difficulty hearing what people are saying in a crowded restaurant or room. Hearing loss is more pronounced in social situations where there is an increase in background noise.
  • People sound like they’re mumbling when they talk to you.

woman having hearing testIf you suspect you or a loved one may have some degree of hearing loss, contact the Pennsylvania Ear Institute. Our expert audiologists will assess your hearing and make recommendations on how to address your hearing needs. For more information on PEI’s services or to make an appointment, call 215.780.3180.