Noise Induced Hearing Loss, 22nd August 2017
Health Promotion teamed up with the Department of Equality and GHITA (Gibraltar Hearing Impaired and Tinnitus Association) to deliver a noise induced hearing loss campaign.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable.
Sound exists all around us, from the conversations we have with one another to the television, radio, seagulls or traffic in our immediate environment. Generally, these sounds remain at safe levels that will not damage our hearing. However, when sounds are too loud they can damage sensitive structures within our inner ear and cause NIHL.
How loud is too loud?
Sound is measured in units called decibels. Sounds below 75 decibels are deemed unlikely to cause hearing loss; this includes the hum of a refrigerator (45 dB) or the normal volume of a conversation (60dB).
However, continued exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels is shown to cause NIHL. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for hearing loss to occur.
Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
To ensure your hearing remains healthy, you should be aware of:
- noises that cause damage your hearing (at or above 85 decibels) and try to avoid repeated exposure
- hazardous noises in your environment and try to avoid them
- protective devices such as earplugs or earmuffs, and use them when involved in loud activities
If you are unable to reduce a loud noise or protect yourself from it, try to distance yourself from it. Also, make sure you protect the ears of children who are too young to protect themselves.
If you think you might have hearing loss it is important to have your hearing tested; see your GP for further advice.