A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that hearing loss caused by noise is extremely common. According to CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, “40 million Americans show some hearing damage from loud noise, with nearly 21 million reporting no exposure to loud noise at work.” This means the loss is coming from everyday exposure to noise — things like leaf blowers, attending concerts or sporting events, and even sirens.
The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is preventable with three easy steps.
1. Turn it down. Enjoy your music, but listen at a safe level. Fifteen minutes at maximum volume on your iPod is all it takes to damage your hearing. Listening time is cumulative so you can listen longer at lower volumes and stay safe. Try noise-canceling headphones which block out background noise, allowing you to enjoy your music at lower volumes.
2. Block the noise. Wear earplugs or earmuffs at concerts or sporting events. They come in many sizes and styles. Some are even made specifically for listening to music. If you don’t have earplugs handy, cover your ears with your hands. This works well when an ambulance or fire truck drives by you on the street.
3. Move away. The farther you are from the noise, the safer it is. Always pick a seat far away from loud speakers and if you see a noisy construction site, cross the street.
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