A Few Words On Hearing Loss
This is not a social media megaphone by altemark via Flickr
Have you ever noticed how loud our lives are these days? Between listening to ipods, attending concerts, being in loud clubs and bars, listening to music in the car, constant cell phone usage, working in loud factories or in construction, and even going to the movies, our society is venturing down the long road to permanent hearing loss. I often wonder how many people will be sporting hearing aids in their old age.
It is my observation that most folks do not take precautions in regards to protecting their fragile inner ears. I am concerned that people will have serious hearing problems later in life, and that this will lead to many unfortunate day-to-day aspects for them: major depression, sleep difficulty, an inability to have easy conversations in noisy public places such as restaurants, and last but not least, the enjoyment of listening to recorded music will be partly lost.
In case you don’t have a good idea of what hearing loss is, let me give a brief explanation here. Hearing loss is when the inner ears no longer have the capability to perceive certain sound frequencies. This is usually accompanied by tinitus, a permanent “ringing” in the ears, which has driven sufferers of the handicap crazy. My response has always been something like this: “I won’t be deaf in 30 years.”
I have always been an advocate for preserving this precious sense that we are all so lucky to have. I always carry my earplugs with me in a small case attached to my keys – you can purchase these inexpensive cases at earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net. I pop my plugs in for all band rehearsals, concerts, when I teach drum lessons, when I’m in very loud bars/clubs, and even when I’m onstage with my band, The Shrill. I can hear everything clearly, but with a reduced decible level so that I’m not causing any damage to my ears. I’ve been doing this for years and will continue to do so, so that I will always be able to enjoy hearing the full spectrum of sounds that resonate out of my stereo speakers!
There have been numorous times when a friend or acquaintence will see I’m wearing plugs and they will have some sort of derogatory comment, such as “That’s gay.” My response has always been something like this: “I won’t be deaf in 30 years.”
There are several different types of earplugs on the market. The most effective (and most expensive) are the ones that are made at ear clinics, specially for the customer. They are made of a mold of your own inner ear for the utmost comfort and protection, and often include interchangable decible filters. These usually run around $150. The plugs I almost always use run about $15, are made of rubber, and have a noise reduction level of about 6 db. I do not recommend buying the cheap foam plugs, as they cut out too much noise and fall out of the ears all the time. If you go to a local music store, the staff onhand will most likely be able to help you purchase the right pair.
If you are interested in learning more about hearing loss, just google those two words and read some of what comes up. The mayo clinic website in particular is a reputable and reliable source of information regarding this topic and other health subjects.