The most common cause of preventable hearing loss is from exposure to loud noises (this includes anything from machinery and loud music). The amount of exposure you have to a noise and the volume of it will influence how much of an impact it has on your ears long-term. The Australian standard for noise exposure is if you are exposed to noise at 85dB (decibels), then the time of exposure should be limited to no more than 8 hours. For every increase of 3dB in volume, exposure length is halved (eg at 88dB, exposure time should be no more than 4 hours). As a general rule, the louder the noise is, the less time you can spend exposed to it before it starts causing permanent damage.
The National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) has created a tool to allow anyone to calculate their risk of developing a hearing impairment based on their lifestyle listening habits. For more information, visit knowyournoise.nal.gov.au. While this website should not replace clinical hearing assessments, it is useful to investigate your lifestyle and offers helpful tips on how to manage your listening risk.
What can we do to manage our listening risk? Hearing protection is important as your hearing needs to last you your lifetime. Reducing the volume of the sound source and exposure time you are around this noise can help reduce the impact it has on your hearing. Here at the Sydney Hearing Services clinics, we encourage everyone to be aware of their auditory surroundings and can provide personal hearing protection for a variety of uses.
Contact the clinic for more details or to arrange an appointment