Most times, we simply don’t realise that our surroundings are too loud for the ears. This results in an early onset of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is usually a gradual process. Clear signs of this include having a ringing sound in your head and finding it hard to follow conversation, said Ms April Chong, a senior audiologist at Sivantos Group.
Across years in the practice, she has seen an increasing number of young adults and teenagers in Singapore with this condition. “Things that seem normal and part of routines can damage your hearing. The key is to avoid exposure to loud noise,” Ms Chong told Aerinlé.
How loud is too loud?
Intensity of sound is measured in decibels. You can listen to regular traffic noise (85 decibels) for eight hours without harming your ears, Ms Chong explained.
When attending a live concert (110 decibels), the maximum time of exposure plunges to under two minutes. The general rule of thumb: Time of exposure should be halved with every increase of three decibels.
While advanced hearing aid technology helps those afflicted with the condition, prevention is better than cure.
Drop these three habits for better hearing health:
1) Listening to music with no volume limit
Ms Chong: Regulate volume by using a limiter. This is a built-in feature on many portable devices like mobile phones.
2) Buying headphones without noise cancellation
Ms Chong: Choose headphones over in-ear earphones as there is less direct exposure to sound. Besides aesthetics and technical specifications, people should look out for a noise cancellation feature. This can keep you from increasing the volume of music when the external environment grows louder.
3) Downplaying hearing limits in daily life
Ms Chong: While it may not be possible to avoid loud sounds in concerts or nightclubs, position yourself away from speakers in the venue. When in doubt, use mobile phone applications like Decibel 10th and dB Volume Meter to gauge the intensity of sound.
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