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Make Summer a Season for Safe Listening, Says ASHA | NEWS-Line for Nurses

Make Summer a Season for Safe Listening, Says ASHA


With the unofficial kickoff to summer on Memorial Day Weekend, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is urging the public to remember to use hearing protection while enjoying all the season has to bring.

Attending concerts, fireworks displays, and sporting events; using garden or power tools while tending to lawns or woodworking; riding motorbikes or other loud vehicles; and cranking the volume on personal technology devices such as smartphones and tablets are just some of the ways that people expose themselves to loud noise. Repeated exposure can ultimately result in what is called noise-induced hearing loss, which is irreversible. Such hearing loss can also result from one extremely loud experience, such as standing close to fireworks.

Following these simple steps, you can prevent noise-induced hearing loss:

Wear hearing protection. For small children, use well-fitting earmuffs that cover their ears. Older children and adults can use basic earplugs available in most drug stores or online. People who are exposed to loud noises frequently may want to consider musician’s earplugs or custom earplugs from an audiologist for the best protection.

Keep your distance. Stay at least 500 feet from speakers, stages, and other sources of noise. The further away you are, the better protected you’ll be from damage.
Take listening breaks. If you’re attending a loud event, aim to step out into a quieter area every hour. Even just a few minutes will help give your ears an opportunity to recover.

Download a sound-level meter app. There are many free apps for monitoring noise levels with smartphones and other devices. Some will even send a push notification alert or warning if a person is being exposed to excessive noise.

Turn the volume down. When listening to music, watching television, and gaming, resist the urge to crank the volume. Aim for keeping the volume to half—especially if you’re wearing earbuds or headphones that are feeding sound directly into your ear. You may want to purchase noise-limiting or noise-canceling earbuds and headphones.

Look for quieter products. Household appliances such as blenders and hairdryers, lawn and garden equipment, and power tools can all reach dangerous noise levels. When buying products, look for ones that specify lower maximum volumes (75­–80 decibels or less is best). Consumer Reports and other websites rate certain items for noise.

Support venues that promote hearing safety. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization launched a global protection standard for entertainment venues—which includes recommendations for businesses to provide hearing protection to customers and keep the sound at a maximum average level of 100 decibels.

“Most of us take our hearing for granted, but it’s something we should all actively safeguard,” said ASHA President Judy Rich, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL. “Luckily, it’s not difficult to protect our hearing. These basic measures offered by ASHA are extremely effective—and they won’t take away any of the fun from our favorite summer activities and hobbies.”

Rich advises people to be vigilant to signs of damage. “One important point to keep in mind: If you find your ears ringing or pain continuing into the next day following a loud event, schedule an evaluation with an audiologist. It’s important to have any issue addressed early.”

Learn more about hearing protection, and find a certified audiologist in your area, at www.asha.org/public

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 223,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders. www.asha.org

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

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