Sound Health Hearing Care

Noisy Hobbies Can Cause Permanent Ear Injury

Hearing Protection from NoiseMost people know that continued exposure to loud noises over time can cause ear damage. But did you know that a single exposure to an excessively loud sound has the possibility to cause irreversible damage too. Shooting a firearm or attending a very loud concert just once has the potential to damage your hearing. Listening to a loud sound for too long on a single occasion can cause permanent hearing loss in addition to other ear injuries.

Ear Injuries from Noise Exposure

Ear damage from loud sounds can result in the following injuries:

• Hearing loss – either a temporary or permanent decrease in high frequency hearing.

• Tinnitus – ringing in the ears that sounds like a tone or hissing.

• Hyperacusis – sensitivity to sound.

• Diplacusis – the pitch of sound is abnormally flat or sharp.

• Processing Disorders – difficulty hearing speech in the presence of background noise.


Ear Trauma from Recreational Noise

Hobbies we enjoy can sometimes harm our ears. Here are a few popular activities that are known to cause ear damage:

• Firearms – Firearms are the #1 cause of recreational noise induced hearing loss. A single gunshot has the potential to cause immediate injury to the ear. A higher caliber rifle, larger gauge shotgun, shorter barrel, muzzle break, increase in rounds fired, and indoor shooting put you at a greater risk for ear injury. Depending on the firearm type, a gunshot can be anywhere from 140dB to over 175dB.

• Fireworks – Firecrackers that explode too close to your ear can cause sudden high frequency hearing loss and tinnitus.

• Concerts – A very loud concert especially in an inside venue can cause permanent ear damage, even in one night, if you’re susceptible to noise induced hearing loss and sit near the speakers.

• Modified earphones/in-ear monitors – If a person has adjusted their earphones or custom monitors from their original design to be louder than what is safe, they can be dangerous.

• Dance clubs – If you spend a full night in an excessively loud dance club near the DJ, its possible to damage your ears.

• Motor sports – NASCAR, IndyCar, Monster Truck shows, utility ATV’s, Jet skis, and motorcycles can produce unsafe noise levels. These noise levels can not only damage the participants ear, but also the hearing of a spectator nearby.


Protect Your Ears form Noisy Activities

There are two types of hearing protection:

1. Passive – Passive hearing protection gives a consistent level of noise reduction. Foam plugs bought at a store or custom ear plugs made by our audiologists are examples of passive protection. Custom plugs give you a consistent fit and reliable protection, while foam plugs can be ineffective if not inserted properly.

2. Active – Active ear protection offers adjustable levels of noise reduction. They are most helpful for hunters who need to hear for safety reasons or to hunt successfully. Non-custom active devices can sometimes allow unsafe sounds to enter the ear, whereas custom fit active protection gives consistent noise reduction while still amplifying soft sounds.

If you have a sudden injury to your ear following noise exposure, it’s important to call us at once. During the first 24-48 hours, our Sound Health ENT physicians may be able to reduce the amount of damage to your hearing with a steroid treatment.

Call Us at (314) 227-0571 to Protect Your Ears from Activities You Love with Custom Ear Plugs!