I was on a walk with a co-worker the other day when it happened.

On our stroll near our building’s parking lot, we passed a parked car. Without warning, its owner pressed a button on his key fob to lock it, eliciting an ear-splittingly loud beep from the car.

It was so loud – and so unexpected – that I literally jumped back. For the rest of the walk, I rubbed my ears and complained to my co-worker that they were still ringing.

What I experienced – Noise Induced Hearing Loss – is extremely common. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 26 million Americans suffer from it. It’s caused by exposure to noises over 85 decibels (which I’m sure that car alarm was.

Though brief, that one-second exposure to the loud noise will leave a permanent —if small—mark on my hearing for the rest of my life. When coupled with MP3 players, hairdryers, blenders and all the other devices with noise levels over 85 decibels that we use every day, it’s easy to see why so many people suffer from some degree of noise induced hearing loss.

We live in a world where so many sounds are harmful to your hearing. While wearing ear protection every moment of the day is impractical, you should be aware that even short bursts of loud noise can damage your hearing. So, avoid them whenever possible. Also, limit your exposure to the loud noises you can control, and wear quality hearing protection when necessary.
Contact Hearing and Balance Centers of West Tennessee to learn about our hearing protection products.