Summer sounds include much more than crickets chirping. Outdoor concerts, parades, 4th of July fireworks, public transportation and construction sites all have one thing in common: High decibels of noise.
One in 10 Americans has hearing loss that affects their ability to understand normal speech. Aging is the most common cause of this condition. However, exposure to excessive noise also can damage hearing in higher pitches.
Three small bones in the middle ear help transfer sound vibrations to the inner ear where they become nerve impulses that the brain interprets as sound. “When noise is too loud, it begins to kill the hair cells and nerve endings in the inner ear,” Dr. Bhayani explained. “The louder a noise, the longer the exposure, and the closer you are to the noise source, the more damaging it is to your nerve endings, or your hearing.” As the number of nerve endings decreases due to damage, so does your hearing. Nerve endings cannot be healed or regenerated and the damage is permanent.
Jet engines are 150 decibels – and so are fireworks! As the 4th of July approaches this week, and brings with it all the fun – and noise! – of fireworks, music and celebration, don’t forget to protect your hearing health by utilizing hearing protection!