And as we continue to spend more time at home, research by Specsavers shows that many of us are still unaware that certain everyday household appliances or gardening equipment can cause permanent damage.
Specsavers audiologist, Orla Walsh, says: ‘With gigs still cancelled and bars and restaurants closed, it’s easy to think that we are no longer exposing ourselves to loud noises but this isn’t necessarily the case. Listening to any sound at high volume – which is classed as more than 85 decibels (db) – can cause permanent hearing loss, tinnitus or both.’
While almost all of us (94%) are aware that using earphones on high volume could cause damage to our hearing, we can be complacent with the potential damage caused by other everyday sounds.
Only 32% of people thought a lawnmower (95db) could damage hearing, while under a quarter of us were aware that a hair dryer (95db), a blender (90db) and vacuum cleaners (85db) were also potential culprits, which could cause damage if repeatedly exposed to over a prolonged period of time.
Orla says: ‘To put this into context, normal levels of conversation are about 65db and things like concerts can reach 110db, so when you know you will be surrounded by loud noise, it is best practice to wear ear defenders or hearing protection. Also, never listen to your music above 60% of full volume. Cancelling out background noise by turning up the volume can cause long-term damage to your hearing and conditions such as tinnitus, which is irreversible.’
She adds: ‘Sounds are measured on a logarithmic scale, so an increase from 80db to 90db doesn’t mean that the sound has increased by 10% but rather that it has increased tenfold. In other words, a sound at 90db is ten times louder than a sound at 80db.’
While you can’t control the volume on a lot of these appliances, you can reduce your exposure to them by wearing hearing protection or limiting the amount of time you spend using them.
Specsavers stores continue to remain open for all sight and hearing needs. Alternatively people can also speak to an expert via video and phone as part of its RemoteCare service.
Those with compatible hearing aids can also have their devices tuned from afar as part of Specsavers new RemoteTuning service too. For more information visit www.specsavers.ie/hearing.