“Hunting season has arrived. I’m so excited for all the activities!” exclaimed Jon.
“May we discuss making the season more enjoyable beyond this year?” inquired his companion Keely.
“Sure, I’m all ears!” joked Jon.
“Okay let’s talk about saving those ears and hearing.” Keely said. “My audiologist gave me this pamphlet. I think we should read it together.”
There are 3 P’s regarding loud sounds and noises. 1-Protect, 2-Preventable, 3-Permanent.
1-Protect your hearing! Use hearing protection when exposing yourself to loud sounds, blasts or noise. Think about loud sounds such as music, gun blasts, car racing, television, machines and industrial sounds such as jackhammers, nail guns and tractors.
The music to my ears may not be the music to yours. Use of hearing protection can range from custom-fit to foam inserts. Turn down the sound from your devices and in the car. Place the headphones on the counter then turn it to just audible then place in ears. Listening to books on tape, iPods, television and radio are great however not at the price of losing your hearing. If you have a hearing loss already it is better to see the dialogue and turn down the TV. You are respecting yourself and others in the room with you.
If you are hunting, silence the shot by using sound dampening earmuffs or custom hearing protectors for firearms. If you silence the hunting you won’t need to live in silence for the rest of your days. If you have an ear infection and the gun blast is loud enough, it may rupture your eardrums. Tinnitus is the body’s natural warning telling us to turn down the sound! Hearing protection worn while hunting not only protects you from your firearms but also from other’s gun blasts.
“I never thought about the noise from other people’s firearms when I’m hunting.” said Jon.
Keely laughed and said, “People who have better aim probably fire more than you do.”
“Very funny,” groaned Jon, “what’s number 2?”
This leads to Number 2-Preventable. Hearing loss is preventable as it relates to noise exposure. If you need to talk louder to hear yourself over the sound, it’s time to put in the hearing protectors. (i.e. vacuuming in a small room.) Individuals who fly a lot not only need to protect their ears from barometric pressure changes but also from the steady noise in the aircraft.
It is a well-known fact the extended loud sounds or brief loud blasts can eventually cause deafness. This is due to damage to the inner ear. When sound is detected the brain is required to interpret this information. The brain tries to adapt to this trauma. This can affect not only hearing but our ability to process speech information which leads to other mental and physical difficulties.
And last but never least is Number 3-Permanent. Once you have a hearing loss it is what is says- a loss. There is no return. There are acoustical amplification devices to assist but the natural hearing is lost. Don’t think that just because you have a loss already, more can’t and won’t hurt. Turn down the sound, respect yourself and others. Protect your hearing and ears.
“That was great information,” stated Jon, “I guess my grandpa was right when he said ‘Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever’.”
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Patricia Larson Shields, AuD FAAA MA CCC-SP/L is a doctor of audiology with her degree from The School of Audiology of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in February, 2003. She has been in business in Mitchell, SD since September, 1991.