The boom of fireworks. The pop-pop of fireworks on a crowded street. Music at your favorite club or concert hall. Celebrating New Year’s Eve can get pretty noisy! While you may be having a great time, your ears may be longing for a good ol’ “silent night.”
Throughout the year, both at work and at play, the hearing of Americans is assaulted by noise — noise that can cause permanent hearing loss and/or tinnitus (“ringing in the ears”).
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires hearing protection for workers who are exposed to noise levels of 85 decibels (dB) or higher. Yet, many non-occupational noises far exceed the 85 dB threshold. For example, the bang of firecrackers may be around 115 dB — which can cause hearing loss in as little as 30 seconds, according to the Better Hearing Institute.
A fireworks show is even more dangerous, coming in at about 160 dB. And, if you attend a New Year’s Eve rock concert, your hearing may be subjected to 120 dB over an extended period.
Even if you don’t experience an immediate loss of hearing from one night of celebration, the cumulative effects of noise exposure over time can gradually chip away at your hearing ability. And it’s highly unlikely you’ll get that hearing back.
On a positive note, noise-induced hearing loss is easily preventable, thanks to a variety of hearing protection products. Even simple foam earplugs provide effective protection in moderately noisy situations. For higher decibel levels, you may want to consider earmuffs or custom-fit earplugs. Many hearing healthcare providers offer custom earplugs that allow you to enjoy your favorite music without damaging your sense of hearing.
If you suspect that your hearing has been damaged by noise, call Amplifon Hearing Health Care today to schedule a hearing test and consultation with a provider near you.