Did You Know?
It's not just your parent or your grandparent whose hearing may be slipping. A 25-year-old farmer can have the ears of a 50-year-old and not even know it!
Sound Advice: Protect Your Ears from Damaging Noise
Exposure to noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing loss.
It can even result from a single nearby shotgun blast, dynamite blast or other very loud noise.
A "decibel" is the unit used to measure the loudness of sound. Decibel levels for each item shown in the graph may vary.
If you need to raise your voice to be heard an arm’s length away, the noise is probably loud enough to damage your hearing.
How Long Is Too Long?
The red bar below shows how long it takes for a particular sound level to become dangerous to the human ear. For example, a chain saw has a sound intensity of about 109 dB. Without proper hearing protection, running a chain saw for only 2 minutes can cause hearing loss!
It only takes...
If you know someone with hearing loss, you know that conversation can be frustrating for both of you.
A good hearing aid can help, because it amplifies the sound. However it does not make sound clearer the way glasses make your vision sharp.
Hearing aids do not correct hearing the way glasses correct vision.
What's That Ringing?
Have you ever driven an open cab tractor for several hours or gone to a loud concert, then heard a ringing in your ears for the next hour or two? How would you feel if that ringing never went away?
That's what happens to many people exposed to loud noise.
That ringing in the ears is called tinnitus, and while many people hear ringing, some hear hissing, roaring, whistling, chirping or clicking sounds. Tinnitus may show up before you even notice much hearing loss.
|“My little girl doesn't understand why I can't hear what she is whispering in my ear. She says…‘Mommy hears me when I whisper’.”|
|“I thought if I lost my hearing, it would be quiet. But that constant ringing keeps me awake at night and I can't hear my friends very well on my cell phone.”|
How Can I Protect My Hearing?
You don’t have to have the hearing of a 50 year old by the time you’re 25. It’s up to you to protect your hearing!
The best protectors are the ones you will wear all the time you are around loud noise.
There are hundreds of different styles of hearing protectors to choose from today. Everyone can find one that is convenient, easy to use, comfortable and fits his or her budget. “Hunter's” or “shooter's” muffs may work well for you. Hearing protectors are available on the internet and in local home improvement and farm stores.
Only trust your ears to products designed as hearing protectors. Cotton balls and other makeshift protectors can let noise pass right through.
“Getting used to wearing my earplugs was like getting used to my favorite boots even after getting a good fit, it still took a little time .”
Hearing Protection Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Resources include this brochure at: www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise
National Hearing Conservation Association: www.hearingconservation.org
National Agricultural Safety Database Hearing Conservation: www.nasdonline.org/menu/topic/hearing.html
National Institutes of Health WISE EARS! Campaign Resources: www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/wise/
Dangerous Decibels: www.dangerousdecibels.org
University of Kentucky Agricultural Disability Awareness and Risk Education (AgDARE) NIHL Resources: http://www.mc.uky.edu/scahip/agdare.html
American Tinnitus Association: www.ata.org
Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (a non-profit group that educates young people about the dangers of exposure to loud music): www.hearnet.com
Writer/Editor: Barbara Mulhern, Agricultural Journalist Document Advisory Group: Thomas Bean, The Ohio State University and NIOSH Great Lakes Center for Agricultural Safety and Health; Deborah Reed, University of Kentucky; Sam Steel, Pennsylvania State University
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SAFER • HEALTHIER • PEOPLE™
Publication #: DHHS-NIOSH 2007-175
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
1095 Willowdale Rd.
Morgantown, WV 26505-2888
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More