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  • 2022-06-23

    Kids Hearing Protection: What You Need to Know

    The world is full of loud noises, but some are particularly problematic for kids. A child's ear canal is smaller than an adult's, so the sound pressure generated is greater than in an adult's ear. This means that loud sounds are even louder for small children. Their internal ear structures are fragile, more sensitive, and especially prone to noise-induced damage.  Here are a some common causes of hearing problems for children:   Loud toys – Noise-making toys are popular, but some might do their job too well; some can produce sounds above 120 dB! If it's too loud for them to hold it next to their ear, think twice before buying or letting them play with the toy.   Television volume – People tend to turn up the volume when watching television. This can sometimes be too loud for adults, let alone children (who can crawl close to the speaker).    Events  – Concerts, festivals, and sports events can be exciting and educational places to take your kids. They can also be very loud!   Firework displays – Firework displays are guaranteed to be noisy, and short bursts of loud noise can still cause permanent hearing damage to adults and children alike.   Household appliances – be careful not to use loud household appliances such as the vacuum, hairdryer, or blender too close to your children. Adults are used to these noisy home appliances, but they're loud enough to damage your child's hearing.   White noise sleep machines – if you want to use an infant sleep machine test the sound output before leaving it in your child's room, place it as far away from them as possible, and use the lowest volume setting.   How Loud is Too Loud?   Sounds are measured in decibels (dB), and generally, noises under 80 dB won't harm a child's hearing unless they are exposed for many hours. What is deemed a ‘safe' sound is based on the duration of exposure, and it's a good general principle to reduce your child's exposure to any loud noise as and when you can.   Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that even very short bursts of extremely loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage.   Monitoring your child's environment and being aware of the sounds that they are regularly exposed to is a crucial part of minimizing your child's exposure to loud noise. When noise is unavoidable, ear protection is your next best option.   It's important to keep in mind that the hearing damage caused by noise exposure is permanent (there is no way to ‘cure', reverse, or completely treat the damage caused) and cumulative, meaning even one-off loud noises can eventually contribute to overall hearing loss.   Types of Kids' Ear Protection Despite the sensitivity of their young ears, kids' hearing protection is not a commonly addressed issue among many parents. Communicate clear rules to your children about when you expect them to wear their hearing protectors. They need to know why they are important so that they are more likely to wear them even when you aren't there. Shopping for their hearing protectors with them can make the process more exciting. They'll feel more involved if they can choose a pair they like. Make sure you purchase ones that are appropriate for the activities they'll be needing them for, and keep them in an accessible place.   Earplugs or Earmuffs for Kids' Hearing Protection?   There are many different types of earmuffs on the market, giving you a range of size and style options. These special children-specific hearing protection options are designed to fit snugly on smaller heads and are more suited to a child's needs than earplugs. A hearing protector's level of protection is measured by its Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). The higher the NRR, the better the earmuffs are at limiting sound exposure. This is a handy way to draw a general comparison between different products. When buying earmuffs, it is important to check that they fit properly on your child's head and aren't too loose. Buying in-store rather than online will be advantageous in this respect. If your child wears glasses, the earmuffs still need to make a seal over them yet remain comfortable.   Can Young Children Wear Earplugs?  It is not recommended that your children wear earplugs as they have the potential to push ear wax further into their ears, which can cause further hearing issues. They can also present a choking hazard if swallowed.

  • 2022-06-08

    Does mowing the lawn damage your hearing?

    Does mowing the lawn hurt your hearing? If you live in a typical urban environment, you may be exposed to extremely high levels of noise - including noise levels known to have adverse health effects. Research estimates that around 10% of the UK population lives in areas with daytime sound levels above 65 decibels. Sources of sound range from modes of transportation (cars, trains, and airplanes) to construction-related noise and innocuous sources like barking dogs and car sirens. But did you know that your lawnmower also makes ambient noise?   summer sound A study conducted a few years ago found that the mild hum of a lawnmower is the sound most Britons associate with summer. This "soft hum" is about 90 decibels, well above the limit that the human ear considers safe. Any sound above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss, depending on your exposure. You may sometimes not even notice the noise of the lawn mower, or may just turn it up; but the fact remains that the sound can take a toll on your hearing. Exposure to loud noises can damage the delicate hair cells in the ears. We have a limited number of hair cells and our body cannot rejuvenate them, so hearing loss is permanent. what can you do You are often urged to use proper foot and eye protection when operating your lawnmower. However, ear protection is not always emphasized. Now that you know the whirr of your lawnmower can hurt your ears, it's not too late to take precautions. Earplugs or earmuffs are an absolute must when mowing the lawn. Disposable foam earplugs are readily available and very cheap. Alternatively, you can buy a good pair of earmuffs that offer more hearing protection than earplugs. They're certainly more expensive than earbuds, but it's a worthwhile investment to make sure your hearing isn't compromised. In addition to making sure you are adequately protected, make sure your child is not exposed to the sound of the lawn mower. Their ears are more fragile than adults' ears and therefore more prone to damage.   Protect your hearing Hearing loss is actually the fastest growing disability in the world. World Health Organization. Therefore, it is important to have your hearing checked regularly. Often you may not even know your hearing is damaged because the damage may be minimal. However, it will only get worse if not addressed immediately.

  • 2022-05-12

    Woodworking With Hearing Protector Is Necessary

    While most audiologists realize that exposure to power tool noise while wood working can be hazardous to your hearing, there are still others that are not convinced.  Often they feel that they have been exposed to noise for such a long time more exposure it will not make much difference.  Since there is already a hearing loss so….“So what, a little more noise will not make it that much worse and I hate those earplugs anyway!”  Of course, this is the wrong idea as we know that further damage can not only impair hearing but can make tinnitus worse and possibly has other complications.   Why Is Hearing Protection Important When Woodworking? The first thing you need to know is that hearing protection isn’t optional. You shouldn’t try to skip out or “be tough” in the place of hearing protection.  Sound is measured in decibels. The major points on the scale are 0 decibels which is the threshold of hearing and 140 decibels is the threshold for pain. This doesn’t mean you should only worry about sounds that are around 140 decibels. In fact, you can experience hearing loss at extended exposure to sounds at a level of 90 decibels.  These numbers don’t mean much if you are only casually familiar with decibel measurement. Instead, it’s important to explain these levels via comparison. Putting these numbers in perspective, rustling leaves are measured at about 10 decibels. Once you get up to 90 decibels, you are looking at a sound level of a tractor or an electric drill. By the time you get to 140 decibels and higher, these are sounds such as a plane taking off.  Even higher than that are fireworks, a cap gun, a balloon pop, or gunshots.  To put this into the context of woodworking, there are a lot of sounds in a shop or even in your garage that can be damaging.  A benchtop planer recently reviewed by Toolsy can put off sounds at levels of 105 to 110 decibels. Even a handheld router offers 95 to 115 decibels.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that hearing protection be used for any prolonged exposure to sounds at 85 decibels.

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