Dangers to hearing (Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk)

So Professor – have you been anywhere really
noisy recently or been listening to loud noises? They’re common causes of hearing problems.
Proud boys? How can being proud stop you hearing? I’ve never heard anything so silly.
LOUD NOISE! Not proud boys. His hearing’s gone again. How can volume cause hearing loss?
Well, loud noises can damage the tiny hairs inside the inner ear that send messages to
the brain. Once damaged, they can’t fix themselves and this can lead to tinnitus – an
annoying ringing sound in your head – or even hearing loss.
Crikey! How loud does the sound have to be? SHOULD WE ALL BE WHISPERING?
That might be kinder to our ears, but I’m not sure it would help us understand each
other! We measure sound in decibels – it helps us put sounds into categories from the
quietest to the loudest. The quietest sound audible to a healthy human ear is zero decibels.
Let’s check it out with my audiometer. It’s very difficult to find complete total
silence in fact, but this is pretty close. My whispering is about 15 decibels.
You’ll have to speak up, Mel – I can’t hear a thing!
Alright! Normal talking – like this – is about 60 decibels.
Things get much MUCH louder than this in everyday life. Let’s go outside to find some more
noises. Well! This is nice! What a lovely sunny day!
People enjoying their gardens. Looks like barbecue weather!
Is that a bee? Nope – just a lawnmower. That’s about
90 decibels close up. Oh! That made me jump!
Car horns like that come in at around 110 decibels. That’s a level that can be harmful
to our hearing. Fortunately, things like lawnmowers and car horns are only loud for a short time.
Someone though who uses a lawnmower all day should use ear protectors – a way to protect
ears from damage or hearing loss. Sometimes you might find yourself somewhere
even louder! Rock concerts and jet planes create very high volumes of noise. Time to
put these ear protectors on! Why? Don’t you like the music?
No – it’s just that sounds above 140 decibels can cause instant damage to your hearing.
Let’s get inside the clinic. So how might someone realize that they’ve
damaged their hearing? Signs that you may have a problem with your
hearing include… having to sit close to the television or having to turn the volume
up on the radio – even when other people are telling you it’s too loud.
Or you might find it difficult to realize that your name is being called unless the
person is very close to you. Or you might have to change ears when you’re using a
telephone. So, you can see why it’s so important to
protect your ears from loud noises – they can cause hearing loss. You need to be especially
careful when listening to music or playing videogames on headphones because it’s very
easy to turn the volume up to unsafe levels. Once those tiny hairs inside your ears have
been damaged, there you cannot fix them. Ear protectors all round then! Although I
can’t hear much without them at the moment! Yes, we haven’t got to the bottom of your
problem yet! My bottom’s not the problem, Mel, and it’s
rather rude of you to say! Professor!

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