Ears, Noise and Protection
In Türkiye we do not have a research but in USA 1 out of 10 American people have a hearing deficiency enough to prevent normal conversation. To expose to high desibel sound is the most frequent reason.
Can “noise” really harm my ears?
Yes, noise can be dangerous. If it is high and long enough, it can effect your hearing.
Noise can cause sensorineural type hearing loss, many other factors can cause it also. But noise type damage can be stopped or reversed with necessary precautions.
Can I make my ears used to noise?
No. If you think that you are accustomed to noise because you are used to noise since a long time, this is untrue. Noise harms your hearing and for the time being operation, drug nothing can treat it.
How ear works?
Sound is a vibration that enters and passes through the external ear canal and reaches to the ear drum. It vibrates the ear drum and three ossicles in the middle ear transmits these vibrations to the inner ear in which vibrations turn into nerve stimulations and transmitted to brain hearing center.
If sound is very high then it can damage the hearing nerve cells. More exposed to sound more damage occurs.
How can I know that the noise is harmful?
In general *if you have to talk louder to hear yourself*if noise produces pain in your ear,*if you have tinnitus because of sound,*if you feel like a deaf 1-2 hours after sound: then these sounds cause harm to your ear.
Sound can be measured in two ways scientifically. One is “decibel” other is “frequency”. Decibel shows the power of the sound, frequency shows the pitch.
What is the relation of frequency with my hearing loss?
Frequency means the number of vibrations per second. Children can hear frequencies between 20 and 20.000.
Human voice is between 300 and 4000 Hertz. First loss of hearing in sound damage is high frequency loss.
High frequency loss can effect the quality of sound also, therefore people get difficulty in understanding the speech.
What is decibel?
It is the power of voice. “0” is the least sound that a normal ear can hear and 180 dB is a sound produced by a rocket.
Decibelles decrease and increase in a logarithmic manner. 20 dB is 10 times stronger than 10 dB. 30 dB is 100 times stroger than 10 dB.
Examples of decibel sounds (dB)
0 Least sound that human ear can hear
60 Normal speaking.
90 Heavy truck sound. Human beings should be exposed to this sound 8 hours maximally.
100 Electrical saw, asphalt piercing machine. Only 2 hours of exposure is allowed.
115 Rocket or powerful rock concerts. Max 15 minutes is allowed.
140 Gun sound, jet motor sound. Ear should be protected everytime.
Can noise cause harm other than my hearing?
Tinnitus can be constant after sound trauma. Sound can increase blood pressure and makes some people anxious.
Should I use hearing protectors?
Yes if you are exposed to high noise in any time.
If voice if more that 90 dB in your working area then you need hearing protectors.
Why could not I close my ears with cotton only?
They only decrease sound only 7 dB that is to say they are not very effective.
Hearing protectors should be used all the time and should be checked for damages frequently to be effective.
What can I do if my hearing is already damaged?
Hearing loss mostly gradually progresses in years. Since there is no pain and it is slow in nature we may not realize it. You may realize “tinnitus” because long duration of exposure to loud sounds. You may not differentiate the words in noisy environments. This may be the beginnig of high frequency hearing lost and you should undergo hearing tests.
Sometimes only earwax or middle ear infection can cause such a feeling and they may easily be treated. Do not underestimate if you have a hearing loss, please admit to a doctor.