Hear Ye, Hear Ye! May is Better Hearing Month
A babbling brook, soft rain falling on the rooftop, a songbird singing and leaves rustling in an autumn breeze are just some of the sounds of life that can have a soothing effect on us. To savor these sounds along with the social comfort afforded from our precious sense of hearing, the American Academy of Audiology wants us all to listen up with their May is Better Hearing Month proclamation campaign.
Sound the trumpet! Whoa, that blared loud in the ear! Standing too close, waves of energy course through the auditory canal, banging forcefully against a delicate drum that oscillates three tiny middle ear bones – the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup. The pulsating vibrations then strike through an oval window careening into microscopic hair cells thrashing them about in fluid suspension causing their ends to gradually recede within the inner ear. The louder the noise, the deeper the damage!
The academy’s Celebrate the Sounds of Your Life site provides, among other resources, fact sheets, posters, promotional and advertising tools, and a touching short video that illustrates the social impact of hearing loss. As stated in the video, “Hearing is a Social Sense. It’s what keeps us connected to family and friends.” The colorful “Levels of Noise” poster shows that MP3 players, at full volume, ring in at a heart-racing 100 decibels scoring a “very loud” rating (noted as dangerous over 30 minutes). Running a household vacuum rates “loud” - vrooming in at 70 decibels, even without dancing like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire when vacuuming to an Aerosmith tune booming in the background. Most don’t think to wear canal caps or ear plugs when cleaning up the carpet crawlers. A fact sheet on ototoxicity provides information on hearing loss associated with some common medications and chemicals. There’s even a template to create a governmental proclamation for the promotion of audiology and hearing health awareness.
For related information on occupational noise exposure and hearing conservation, check out these MEMIC posts:
- What's This I Hear About Ear Damage? discusses controls for noise reduction and answers the question of how loud is too loud from a regulatory compliance and best practice standpoint.
- Hearing Conservation for Hearing Conversation provides a link to OSHA’s Noise and Hearing Conservation e-Tool.
- Occupational Noise and Hearing Conservation addresses certain concerns with wearing hearing protection in an Issues & Answers format.
So, spread the word both far and wide on hearing preservation. For the point is clear, oh dear, what a fear to only hear the sound of silence.
By Greg Larochelle