LCHM Fall 2017 - 18

FEATURE

protect Your
hearing
by Avoiding Excessive Noise
BY DR. KATE O'BRIEN

Y

ou can permanently lose your hearing
from prolonged exposure to noise!
Twelve million Americans have
hearing loss as a result of exposure
to noise - noise-induced hearing loss. October
is "National Protect Your Hearing Month," and
audiologists across the nation are encouraging
Americans to protect their hearing by:
Wearing hearing protection
when around sounds louder than 85 (dB)
for 30 minutes or more
turning doWn the volume when
listening to the radio, TV, or anything through
ear buds or headphones
Walking aWaY from loud noise
"Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage
to the microscopic hair cells, or cilia, which are
found in the inner ear," explained Kate O'Brien,
a doctor of audiology with Allen Ear, Nose and
Throat Association in Allentown. "Cilia are
18 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | FALL 2017

small sensory cells that convert the sounds we
hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that
travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair
cells cannot be repaired or grown back, causing
permanent hearing loss."  
The loudness of sound is measured in units
called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss is
caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise
over 85 (dB), such as concerts, sporting events,
lawnmowers, fireworks, cell phone music and
MP3 players at full volume, and more. A brief
exposure to a very intense sound, such as a gun
shot near the ear, can also damage your hearing.
Hearing loss not only affects your ability to
understand speech but it also has a negative impact
on your social and emotional well-being. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur gradually over time
and people don't often realize they are changing
the way they live to make up for the disability.  
If you suspect you may have a hearing loss,
make an appointment to see an ear, nose and

AN ENVIRONMENT
IS TOO LOUD
AND 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
If you have decreased or
"muffled" hearing for several
hours after exposure, that is a
sign of temporary and possible
permanent hearing damage.
throat specialist or an audiologist. He or she
will perform a hearing test to determine the type
and severity of hearing loss you may have and
provide options.  



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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LehighCountyHealthMedicineSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Winter19
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/Fall2017
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