Turn It Down, Turn It to the Left

Our environment seems to get louder and louder. The other night my family and I were sitting down watching the World Series when we heard a thump, thump, thump. After turning down the television, we realized that it was a passing car. What was concerning was the car was on a street more than 100 yards away. It is scary to think how loud that radio had to be to travel through the car, across the neighbor’s yard, through our house and still be audible over our television.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Research has shown that nearly 5 million young people between the ages of 6 and 19 have reported some degree of hearing loss due to noise exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss is something I see and work with every day. Most often my current patients’ hearing loss was caused while providing for their families or serving our country and they didn’t know too much noise was so dangerous. Comparatively, the patients I will see in the future have been informed of the danger of too much noise but still choose to put their hearing at risk by listening to loud music or participating in loud activities.

You can protect yourself from potentially harmful noise levels by recognizing what noise levels are dangerous. Sounds are too loud when:

  • You have to raise your voice to be heard
  • Other people can hear your music outside of your headphones

There are three easy steps to protect your hearing when exposed to potentially dangerous noise levels.

  1. Use hearing protectors like earmuffs or disposable earplugs.
  2. Limit your time in dangerously loud environments.
  3. Turn down your volume.

I encourage everyone to learn how to recognize dangerous noise levels and take appropriate precautions when they find their ears in danger. I tell everyone, “Thirty cents of hearing protection today will save you $3,000 in hearing aids later.” If you would like more information, visit www.turnittotheleft.com or call me at (605) 665-6820.

By Dr. Matthew Rumsey

Audiologist at Avera Sacred Heart

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