July 2, 2014

The 4th of July… picnics, laughter, families… and BOOM! Fireworks!!!

By Dr. Molly Parker
Audiologist and Owner
Parker Audiology, P.C.
& Dr. Alison Soto
Audiologist
Parker Audiology, P.C.

The 4th of July is a time of picnics, laughter, families… and BOOM! Fireworks!!!

Noise induced hearing loss and resulting tinnitus (ear noises) are the single most preventable hearing condition. Because of the awareness of noise exposure, I have personally seen an increase of noise induced hearing loss from teenagers’ use of IPODs. On a positive scale, I have also seen a decline of noise induced, work-related hearing loss due to OSHA’s recommendations.

Noise damaging hearing loss is a function of how loud a sound is, and how long you are around it. For example, if you mowed lawns continuously 40 hours a week with a “quiet” lawnmower, that can be just as damaging as a single gunshot. Here’s the scale of what is acceptable.

Noise Time Examples
85 dBHL 8 hours Blow-dryer
90 dBHL 4 hours Lawnmower
95 dB HL 2 hours Semi Trucks
100 dB HL 1 hour Loud Club on a Saturday night

Tinnitus can be a sign of too much noise exposure and damage to the hearing system. Often it can subside a few hours or days after a loud event. When it does not go away, it can suggest that permanent damage to hearing may have occurred. You can protect yourself with different types of earplugs.

The best earplugs tend to be custom molded ear plug (cost: about $100+/pair). Earmuffs-style headphones tend to provide the most consistent hearing protection, since they are the easiest to put on the head correctly. The earplug style hearing protection can also be more comfortable and very effective, but are put in the ear as often as 60 percent of the time. I would suggest consulting with an knowledgeable audiologist if you have questions on how to correctly insert foam earplugs. Our office does not recommend putty-style earplugs for noise protectors. There are many types of noise protectors that are geared towards motorcycle use, hunting, and yes, even to protect spouses’ hearing for loud snoring!

Parker Audiology, P.C. is happy to welcome audiologist Alison Soto. Alison received her undergraduate degree in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Iowa and her doctorate in Audiology from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been working as the Audiologist at Missouri School for the Deaf since 2008. She performs diagnostic testing and is well versed in hearing aids and hearing technology. She loves sign language and is looking forward to connecting with the Deaf community in the Quad City area.

Parker Audiology, P.C is locally owned and operated. Call Dr. Alison Soto or Dr. Molly Parker today for an appointment at (563) 326-5441.

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