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Noise Exposure

Noise Exposure
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One of the most common and yet completely preventable causes of permanent sensorineural hearing loss is exposure to sound levels that are excessively loud. High noise levels first cause temporary and then permanent damage to the sensory hair cells within the cochlea. Even young children may be exposed to sounds that could be damaging to their hearing. Noise produced by various modes of transportation (subways, trains, airplanes, snowmobiles, etc.) and home appliances (stereo music equipment, power tools, lawn maintenance equipment, hair dryers, etc.) may be damaging to hearing depending upon the closeness to the noise source and the exposure time. Moreover, some toys may actually produce intense sound and sound levels at some music events can damage hearing.

Monitor the level of noise your child is exposed to. If speech must be raised (shouted) to communicate, it is very likely that the noise is excessive and possibly damaging. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) after noise exposure also indicates excessive sound levels. Children should be told about the dangers of noise exposure and the use of ear protection (ear plugs, ear muffs, etc.). When ear protection is unavailable, simply block the ear canal opening with yours fingers. This serves as to reduce the level of sound going to the eardrum. Children should be protected from excessive noise exposure whenever possible.

As a parent, you can set examples for your child. When mowing the lawn or using noisy tools or appliances, use hearing protection and insist that your child playing nearby does the same. Such habits will save both your hearing and that of your child.

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