PREVENT NOISE-RELATED HEARING LOSS
Hearing loss caused by noise is almost entirely preventable. It may develop
suddenly or gradually, depending on the source and intensity of the noise.
Repeated, frequent exposure to loud or moderately loud sounds over a long
period of time can result in permanent hearing loss.
If you have to shout to be heard, it’s too loud.
Whether it is tools at work or loud music and vehicles (such as motorcycles)
at play, limit your exposure to noise to prevent damage to your hearing. If you
can’t avoid noise, you can protect your hearing with earplugs or earmuffs.
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accidents and, of course, exposure to
noise,” Gusnowsky says.
Signs of hearing loss include:
• The need for frequent repetition
• Difficulty hearing over background
noise or from a distance
• Difficulty finding where sound is
• Tiring from active listening for a
• Memory loss.
“Often, the listener may not realize
they are missing conversation or
sounds around them and it will be
a spouse, friend or family member
who notices hearing deficits first,”
Judy Meintzer, a speech-language
pathologist with Alberta Health
Services, agrees. “The people around
you can get frustrated because they are
always repeating themselves or being
As they age, most people can hear
low-frequency background sounds such
as a fan just as well as when they were
“It’s the higher-frequency sounds such
as in speech that need to be louder to be
heard,” Meintzer says. “So, background
noise seems louder and speech seems
quieter.” Also, many surroundings are
noisier, making it even harder to hear.
If your hearing is interfering with your
ability to communicate, then it’s time to
Some people put off getting help
because they don’t want to wear a
hearing aid. “To be clear, today’s hearing
aids are nothing like hearing aids from
20 years ago,” Gusnowsky says. “It’s
important to remember that hearing
losses are not all alike. Not everyone
requires hearing aids.”
Other treatments range from
amplifiers to surgery. Some treatments
are even simpler.
Meintzer recalls her mother
withdrawing from the shared dining
room at her senior’s residence. Meintzer
took her to the doctor and found her
mother’s ear canals were blocked with
wax that needed to be removed regularly.
“I noticed right away that she was more
engaged when this was done,” Meintzer