Hearing Protection is Essential - and Easy to Use

Ask the Experts by Lynn Shawl

Q: When should I be wearing ear protection?

A: Auto racing has grown into one of North America's favorite summer pastimes. Unfortunately, it might be the most dangerous pastimes for our hearing.

A researcher from the University of Texas Austin attended a Formula 1 Grand Prix with a sound-level meter in hand. He measured noise at three locations within 25 feet of the track. He found the cars produced up to 8,500% of the daily allowed noise dosage established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Obviously this is extreme noise exposure.

It does, however, serve to remind us that noise associated with many summer activities can cause permanent hearing loss. Damage can result from sudden, extremely loud noises, such as the boom of fireworks, or prolonged exposure to sounds generated from outdoor concerts, ball games, ATVs, power tools, lawn mowers and other sources.

Maybe you've already experienced hearing loss - possibly caused by exposure to noise.

You can help loved ones and friends avoid the same fate by reminding them to wear hearing protection. We wear safety glasses for eyes, helmets to protect skulls, kneepads when roller skating. It's time to protect our hearing too!

The good news: noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, if you use one of the many hearing protection options available today. Protect your hearing today - because when we cannot hear all the wonderful sounds of life, we cannot truly enjoy summer to its fullest.

Lynn Shawl is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Miracle-Ear Hearing Centers. She can be reached at (888) 898-4797. Miracle-Ear Hearing Centers is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals.

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