Excessive noise levels can easily be part of your everyday life—at work, during leisure activities or as part of domestic chores. It isn’t difficult to encounter noise levels above 85 decibels; that’s the level hearing professionals consider the threshold at which one’s hearing is endangered. Eighty-five decibels and above can also exacerbate existing hearing loss. Hearing protection at those noise levels is essential, as such noises can damage delicate hair cells inside the cochlea—an organ of the inner ear that sends sound signals to the brain.
Even very simple things can lead to permanent hearing loss: Concerts (more than just rock and roll can be too loud, depending on where you sit), sporting events, hunting, riding ATVs, using power hand tools and lawn equipment, or simply listening to overly-loud music. Such everyday noises can reach 110 decibels or more, which can endanger your hearing within minutes. Some easily-encountered sounds can damage hearing on the spot. For instance, a shotgun fired at close range can exceed 150 decibels, which can damage your hearing in an instant.
Hair cells of the inner ear never regenerate, so hearing loss caused by repeated noise trauma isn’t likely to get better on its own. If hearing damage happens during your teens, the effects may not show until your late 20s or early 30s. Repeated exposure to noise in early life can be compounded in later years; it may not even become apparent until your 50s or 60s, when age-related hearing loss becomes a greater factor.
Hearing protection stifles piercing sounds but lets through the sounds you want to hear. We offer a number of custom-fit hearing protection options that perfectly fit the contours of your ear, providing comfortable all-day noise protection.
We offer both standard and electronic hearing protection options for any situation where loud noise is a problem. Contact us today about custom-fit hearing protection and to schedule an appointment for a fitting.
Can Untreated Hearing Loss Cause Trouble in Later Life?
Hearing loss has been found to have connections with a number of serious later-life health difficulties, adding an extra layer of importance to hearing protection. Among those connections is a close, research-established relationship between hearing loss and dementia. Evidence strongly suggests that hearing loss can speed-up brain-tissue degeneration, especially in parts of the brain that would be stimulated by auditory nerves if hearing loss weren’t preventing them from receiving signals; those brain areas are also related to memory and speech.
Another connection has to do with the likelihood of falling. Even mild hearing loss makes people three times more likely to fall down than those without it; that risk increases as hearing loss gets worse.
Hearing loss has also been connected to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sickle-cell anemia, and various circulatory problems.
When Are Loud Noises Too Loud?
Here’s a useful rule of thumb: if music or other background noise is loud enough that you need to raise your voice in order to be heard, there’s a good likelihood that it’s too loud and could be approaching a damaging level. Things like lawn mowers or heavy freeway traffic can easily cross the 85-decibel threshold at which hearing can start to be damaged. If you’re exposed to noises of 85 decibels or more on an ongoing basis, have your hearing tested regularly to see if you’re showing the effects of hearing damage.
If your leisure activities or workplace environment are exposing you regularly to loud noise, please get in touch with us about the latest hearing-protection technology, finding a solution to suit your needs and scheduling your fitting for custom hearing protection.
Musicians’ In-Ear Studio Monitors
Professional musicians, according to research, are some four times more likely to suffer hearing loss than the general population. In addition to rehearsal volume, concerts can reach levels in excess of 110 decibels—a level that can cause hearing damage in minutes. Without hearing protection, musicians can find themselves facing hearing loss at an early age; they also put their careers at risk. Our in-ear monitors for musicians are custom-fit to your ear’s unique contours, for comfortable fit throughout an entire performance while maintaining an appropriate and safe volume. And when it comes to sound quality, our monitors are second to none. Schedule a custom fitting with us today!
Firearms and Industrial Environment Hearing Protection
Hunters, hobbyist shooters, military personnel and police officers who fire guns without wearing proper hearing protection are at risk of immediate hearing damage. We offer a selection of protection options that are custom-fit to the unique contours of your inner ear for comfort; they’re also very easy to carry with you. The same type of protection is recommended for industrial and manufacturing professionals.
Swimmers’ Ear Protection
Sound isn’t much of a problem underwater, but experienced swimmers know the importance of ear protection. It helps in preventing swimmer’s ear, surfer’s ear and eardrum ruptures. Such protection helps in equalizing underwater ear pressure, and its custom fit creates a seal that keeps the ear canal dry. If you swim regularly, or spend several hours a week performing in-water activities, we encourage you to get yourself fit for ear protection. We specialize in finding just the right protection solution for you, so please call us today to book a custom fitting.
Ear Protection for Sleeping
A good night’s sleep can be a very fragile thing; for one reason or another, a lot of people struggle to achieve one every night. We believe in being proactive about dealing with sleep-preventing factors that are under your control; that means protecting yourself from noises that keep you awake when you should be in a deep sleep—things like street noise, loud neighbors or a snoring spouse. Our custom-fit solutions will quiet unwanted noise, while providing comfort that will make you forget you’re wearing them.
Sleep deprivation is related to numerous health issues and can lead to psychiatric ailments. Sleeping poorly also means you go to work tired, with low energy and poor concentration. It’s also likely that you’ll have a greater level of stress than you would with proper sleep. Call us today for a custom-fit solution to whatever bedtime noise sources are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common loud noises I should avoid?
Perhaps the most common loud noise you’ll encounter is freeway traffic, which can be loud enough to damage hearing (85 dB) when it’s heavy. Lawn mowers, chain saws, ambulances, garbage trucks, and motorcycles are all fairly common neighborhood or street sounds that can damage hearing. During certain times of the year, firecrackers, jackhammers, snowmobiles, or outdoor sporting equipment (guns included) might make themselves known. And of course loud music — whether it’s through earbuds and a loud iPod or in person at a concert — is one of the most common culprits of hearing loss today.
My ears hurt after being exposed to loud noise. What should I do?
Do whatever you can to get away from that noise immediately. When a noise is painful, it’s likely that damage is being done to your hearing. Noises loud enough to cause pain are also typically loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage almost immediately. If the pain persists, please see a medical professional.
How do I protect my ears from loud noise?
Earplugs that fit snugly and seal tightly in your ear canal typically offer protection for a variety of situations. Custom-fit hearing protection offered by Bow River Hearing can protect your ears from harmful noise levels while still allowing you to enjoy the activities you love.
Where can I get custom hearing protection?
Bow River Hearing can fit you with custom hearing protection that defends the delicate inner ear against harmful noise levels.
How can I tell if a noise is dangerous?
If you must raise your voice in order to be heard over the sound, you’re probably experiencing a dangerous amount of noise. Do what you can to move out of harm’s way, or cover your ears if possible until the noise passes.
How long can I be exposed to loud noises before it affects my hearing?
Permissible noise exposure levels vary. Hearing loss is cumulative, meaning that the less time you’re exposed to loud noises over the course of your life, the better your hearing health is likely to be. The point at which sound begins to damage hearing is 85 dB, for which the permissible continuous exposure period is about eight hours. For each 3 dB increase in noise pressure, the permissible exposure time before hearing damage can occur is cut in half. For example, permissible exposure to 88 dB would be four hours, 91 dB would be two hours, 94 dB would be one hour, etc.
Are there advantages to earmuffs or earplugs?
Heavy-duty earmuffs can create a seal around the ear that cuts out noise to the same level as many earplugs. The main disadvantages of a larger headset are the possibility for less mobility, and the possibility that they may fall off, leaving the ears exposed for some period of time. Earplugs may also fall out, but custom-fit earplugs are likely to stay sealed comfortably in the ear for as long as you’d like to wear them.
Products & Services
Give the Gift of Hearing
Bow River Hearing has one location in Airdrie and three in Calgary. We look forward to seeing you at the clinic that is most convenient for you to visit.