Scientists have found that men are twice more likely than women to suffer from hearing loss. According to Ronald Burgess, consultant audiologist at Oticon Singapore, your hearing begins to gradually decline once you enter your teens. “Hearing degenerates gradually as we age – a result of normal wear and tear – but this occurs over one’s lifetime. The trick is not to accelerate this process prematurely,” he says. Here are the four common culprits responsible for your poor hearing (besides your naggy mother).
1. Your Vacuum Cleaner
By the age of 30, 10 per cent of adults have mild to moderate levels of high-frequency hearing loss, says Burgess. “The most common danger to your hearing is noise.” Noise is made up of sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in the US, when we are exposed to these noises, sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss. These noises exist in our environment from household appliances, construction sites and traffic.
2. Your MP3 Player
Before you decide to blast your MP3 player again, hear this: Over time, loud music can cause hearing loss. “Generally, the louder the sound, the less time you should be exposed to it,” Burgess says. “Sometimes, you may instinctively turn up the volume of your layer to drown out environmental noise and therein lies the danger.” The distance from the source of the sound is also equally important. Earphones are mere centimetres from your eardrums.
3. Falling Flower Pots
Head injuries can affect your middle or inner ear systems, causing hearing loss. “Impact trauma affecting the middle ear system can be medically corrected either by repairing the eardrum or the middle ear bones surgically,” Burgess says. “Trauma affecting the inner
ear system can result in a fracture of the cochlea – the auditory portion of the inner ear – which is usually permanent.” So be mindful of falling objects.
4. The Nightclub
Nightclubs and rock concerts can also endanger your hearing, a British Royal National Institute for Deaf People survey found. Sounds of less than 75 decibels are unlikely to cause hearing loss, according to the NIDCD. A normal conversation is about 60 decibels while a noisy nightclub can reach up to 110, the equivalent of an aeroplane taking off. If you don’t want to miss a second of Nine Inch Nails, just use a discreet pair of earplugs to reduce the stress on your eardrums.