After walking into our clinic this morning and hearing the sounds coming from one of our staff member's cars I felt compelled to write this blog. It occured to me that everyone could benefit from knowing how to protect their hearing, including the staff of Great Hills Ear, Nose & Throat!
It seems that many people do not think about protecting their hearing. We are exposed damaging noise every day. Concerts, car stereos, iPods set above 50% volume, and in Texas guns provide plenty of potentially damaging sound. Ladies, even your hair dryer is too loud! It is interesting trivia that hair dyers and vacuum cleaners are the leading causes of noise-induced hearing loss in women.
At Great Hills ENT we see many of you when it is too late. The damage has already been done, resulting in tinnitus and/or permanent hearing loss. Wear your hearing protection properly so that you preserve your connections to your world.
If you work around power tools like jack hammers or jet engines you need to double your protection. Ear plugs and muffs are required if your noise exposure is at or above 105dB.
Regardless of which protection you choose, it is of little value if not worn properly. If you wear glasses or sport a Duck Dynasty beard you may not get a great seal with ear muffs. Plugs may be a better choice for protection from routine sound exposures.
Foam ear plugs must be inserted correctly for them to work properly, they should be squeezed and rolled into a very thin cylinder, as small as possible. Pull up and back on your ear, like your mom used to do to you when you were in trouble, with the opposite hand. This opens your ear canal. Then slide the ear plug into your ear canal and hold it there for about 15-20 seconds allowing the plug to expand into your ear. See below for a visual.
If the foam plugs are not an option due to a latex allergy, or if you prefer a more custom solution the Audiology Department is able to make custom hearing protection for you. This requires that a mold me made of your ear and made to fit your ear. If this is something you might be interested in schedule an appointment with Dr. Peterson.
The take home message is this: Protect your hearing. Once it’s gone it doesn’t come back. We can not repair or regenerate the cells in your ear. So you have one of two options: 1) avoid damaging noise 2) use protection in noisy situations .
Prevention is so simple and cheap. An ear plug or muff used now is much smarter than paying for an expensive hearing aid or tinnitus solution later. If you ask me, I’ll take the cheap ear plug.
The Audiology Department at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX specializes in hearing related disorders including tinnitus and hearing loss, neurophysiological disorders as well as dizziness/balance disorders. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, hearing aids, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.