Protecting Your Hearing for a Lifetime
by Shelby Berry, AuD, CCC-A — Solvera Health
A toddler’s full-throated laughter. The crackle of a cozy fire. Your favorite song. Your loved one’s voice.
These are the sounds we often take for granted. Now, imagine a world without those precious sounds.
Tips for Better Hearing Health
At Solvera Health, we are committed to helping you conserve your hearing. Hazardous noise exposures can cause a temporary — or permanent — change in hearing. It is critical to be aware of your environment and the sounds you’re being exposed to so you can protect your hearing.
Even though we cannot avoid all noise, there are some situations we can control such as monitoring the noise levels of devices when using headphones or when we’re rocking out in the car. And when you’re rocking out at a live concert, attending a sporting event, or working with power tools, you can be exposed to even more dangerous noise levels.
Limiting extended exposure to loud noise is helpful, when possible, but it is even more important to get in the habit of using hearing protection during times of elevated noise levels. This can be over-the-ear muffs, foam ear plugs or even custom ear plugs. It’s super easy to toss a set of ear plugs into your handbag, car, pocket, or backpack so that you always have them ready when you need them.
Know the Numbers
For reference, conversational speech is typically about 60 dB A, while a lawn mower is about 100 dB A. The louder the noise, the shorter the allowable exposure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — the organization that sets regulations for occupational noise exposures — requires hearing protection when exposed to noise of 85 dB for 8 hours; OSHA also requires hearing protection when exposed to noise of 115 dB immediately, even if exposure is brief.
When to Seek Hearing Testing
Although there are specific milestones when hearing is tested — including birth, school screenings and often starting around age 60 — the most important time to get tested is whenever you notice a change.
You may notice that your 14-year-old isn’t responding when you’re talking to them. At that age, it could be any number of things. However, it is important to not assume that they’re ignoring you or focused on something else.
Today’s teenagers (and younger children) spend a lot of time wearing headphones for music, videos, and gaming, and they may be already damaging their hearing. It’s important to talk with your children, starting when they are young, about the importance of safe volume levels.
If you notice that you or a loved one are struggling to hear family, friends, or colleagues — or that you’re turning up the TV or music louder — it might be a good time to have your hearing assessed.
Most research suggests that age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, typically begins to occur around age 65. However, each person is different, and other factors like noise exposure and family history of hearing loss can impact what age our hearing starts to decline.
Hearing Aids and Service Highlights
Diminished hearing can cause you or a loved one to miss out on conversations and other activities, which can lead to a feeling of disengagement. We want to ensure that you achieve the quality of life you want — and your ability to enjoy life with optimal hearing is part of that.
Solvera Health provides a wide range of audiology services for both children and adults (with a referral from your primary care provider). We offer comprehensive hearing evaluations; communication and functional needs assessments; and hearing aid fittings and repairs. Hearing aids come in different styles, including devices that fit in the ear or behind the ear. If a hearing aid is needed, we will recommend a style that best suits your hearing loss and lifestyle.
Learn more about our audiology services and the insurance providers we work with at https://solverahealth.com/services/solvera-care/audiology/ or by calling 309-866-9172.