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Listening Too Loud Frequent exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (dB) over time can impair your hearing, he explains. The louder the sound, the less time it takes. Just 14 minutes of exposure to sound at 100 dB can begin to damage sensitive structures in the inner ear.
Concerts, Loud Noises, and Tinnitus Loud concert? Ringing in your ears afterward? That’s called tinnitus. The average decibel level at a rock show is 110, loud enough to cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes. Hearing damage can occur with extended exposure of any noise over 85 decibels. Other risky sounds include leaf blowers and chain saws. Normal conversation registers at 60. Tinnitus can last for hours, days, weeks, or permanently. To prevent hearing damage or loss, use earplugs and limit your exposure.
Learning More About Hearing Loss To understand hearing health and hearing loss, you should first understand how your ear works to capture sound and transmit it to your brain. The outer ear is designed to capture sounds and funnel them into the ear canal. The sounds enter your ear canal, where they cause vibrations in your eardrum. The eardrum has the job of transferring the sound waves from your outer ear to your inner ear. As the sound passes through the inner ear, it vibrates tiny hair cells that represent individual frequencies or pitches. If you think about the inner ear as a piano, some hairs represent the highest notes on the piano, and some represent the lowest. As the various hairs vibrate, it triggers transmission of those frequencies to your brain for interpretation of what sound you have heard. Your ability to hear clearly can be impacted by certain medical conditions, genetics, accidents, prolonged exposure to loud noises, or even aging.
Hearing Aid Compatible Some hearing aids have a feature called a "telecoil" built into them. The telecoil allows the hearing aid to hear magnetic signal representing an audio signal instead (or in addition to) just an audio signal. A device that is "Hearing Aid Compatible" is designed to output the required magnetic signal that the telecoil can hear in additon to an audio signal. The term "Hearing Aid Compatible" is usually used to refer to telephones, but may also apply to headphones. Also, hearing aid users who have a telecoil in their hearing aid may use an ALD with a neckloop or with a silhouette to allow them to hear devices that are not by nature "Hearing Aid Compatible". Headphones: Not all headphones are "Hearing Aid Compatible", but those that use powerful magnets to drive the speakers may be. The most common headphone that people may encounter that is "Hearing Aid Compatible" is the "PhonicEar" Headphone (really an ALD which many movie theaters have to loan free to patrons who would like to hear the movie better. Many users can simply use that ALD acoustically, but users with a telecoil in their hearing aids may benefit from switching it on, since that particular headset is "Hearing Aid Compatible". Telephones: Most non-portable telephones, some remote phones, and a few cell phones sold in the United States are now "Hearing Aid Compatible". This means that the telephone speaker in the earpiece not only outputs the sound of the person you are talking to, but it also outputs a magnetic signal representing the sound. All early telephones were automatically hearing aid compatible, because they used magnets to drive the speaker in the earpiece. Telephones built a few years ago were probably not hearing aid compatible, because they frequently didn't use magnets to drive their speakers. Using a equipped hearing aid with a Hearing Aid Compatible telephone can dramatically improve your ability to hear on the telephone. Shop carefully, however, since the strength and effectiveness of Hearing Aid Compatible phones and of telecoil varies greatly. If you have more than a minor hearing loss, you may want to check out the several Hearing Aid Compatible telephones and especially those Amplified Telephones designed especially for hard of hearing people.
What causes tinnitus? Scientists and health experts don't know the exact physical cause of tinnitus, but several sources are known to trigger or make it worse, including: Loud noises and hearing loss – Exposure to loud noises can destroy the non-regenerative cilia (tiny hairs) in the cochlea, causing permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Aging – As you age, those same cilia gradually deteriorate, which can lead to tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Ototoxic medications – Some prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants are harmful to the inner ear as well as the nerve fibers connecting the cochlea to the brain. Hearing conditions – Conditions such as otosclerosis and Ménière’s disease are known to cause tinnitus. Health conditions – Tinnitus can also be a symptom of health conditions like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stress and head injuries.
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