Much like eyesight, once your hearing is damaged it can’t be brought back to how it once was. Many things can cause hearing loss and stop us from hearing clearly, but it’s estimated that 50% of hearing impairment and deafness cases are preventable.
The most common cause of preventable hearing loss, and probably the first that comes to mind for most, is exposure to loud noises. If you’ve ever gone to a large live music event and left the venue with a ringing and/or numbness in your ears, you’ve experienced a temporary version of what permanent hearing damage can be like 24/7. Over exposure to loud noises can lead to Tinnitus, which is a maddening ringing or thrumming noise. While this isn’t guaranteed, what certainly is, is the loss of clarity and high frequency sounds. What does that mean? In busier settings such as a loud restaurant or shopping centre, you may begin to struggle to hear people speak as all the noise begins to merge into one.
This happens as we get older at different rates person to person however, it can be prevented from happening. Hearing protection is incredibly important in all cases, not just in the workplace. When going to live music events, take some earplugs with you. Inexpensive earplugs won’t take away from the sound of the music, only protect your hearing. When around or operation loud machinery, make sure you have the correct hearing protection, this goes for industry and many power tools you may have at home.
Thankfully technology has advanced that tools to help with hearing loss have become a lot less intrusive, with many hearing aids now being almost invisible or unnoticeable to the user.