Brookings

Hearing Loss Prevention and Ear Protection

Noise is constantly around us. There are instances when sound can become too loud and damage your hearing.

For example, a single exposure to a very loud noise at close range, like a shot from a shotgun or a firecracker, can immediately and permanently damage your hearing. Also, repeated exposure to loud equipment over extended periods of time, can gradually lead to permanent hearing loss. Hazardous noise levels can eventually damage the fragile hair cells in the cochlea leading to sensorineural hearing loss.

More than 30 million Americans are regularly exposed to dangerous noise levels. These damaging noise levels can occur from working around noisy machinery, like lawn mowers and power tools. Occupations with a high risk of noise induced hearing loss include farming, factory work, music, construction, military, and many others.

Damaging noise levels can also come from participating in loud recreational activities, like hunting, concerts, and motorcycles. To protect your hearing, limit your exposure to noise when possible and when exposed to noise, wear hearing protection. Hearing protection can help avoid damage to your hearing by making the sound softer. Hearing protection options include foam earplugs, muffs, and specialized custom plugs.


Return to: Hearing Education Center > Hearing Loss Prevention and Ear Protection