October is National Protect Your Hearing Month, an important reminder to take steps to preserve your hearing health. That means limiting exposure to loud noises, as well as using ear protection when attending sports events or music concerts.

Hearing loss has become the third most common health problem in the nation. This increase comes, in part, from noise-induced hearing loss. NIHL can happen to anyone at any age, and can happen anywhere there are loud noises. Despite this growing problem, there is little national attention and many people still don’t understand how to avoid or prevent damage, or even how to recognize subtle changes in hearing.

Inside the ear are small, delicate hairs that help conduct the noise that constitutes a large part of your hearing. Injury to these hair cells comes from exposure — sudden or prolonged — to loud noises. Noise can damage hearing if the decibels are too high, if it is too close to your ears, or if it is heard for long periods of time. This can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

A simple screening to tell if your hearing has been affected may help to prevent future damage. Think about how your ears react to situations with loud noise. If there is pain, a feeling of having your ears temporarily blocked, the need to shout in order to be heard, or a temporary buzzing or ringing, chances are you have experienced some damage to your hearing.

If you think you’ve already experienced dangerous sound levels and want to find out if you have hearing damage, you should not wait! The sooner the action the better the solution. Hearing loss should be found and dealt with before it spirals into other issues like depression and brain atrophy. At Great Scott Audiology and Hearing Aids in Topsham we offer free hearing screenings.
If you would like to schedule a screening, a full evaluation, purchase hearing aids, or noise reduction molds, call Dr. Richards at Great Scott Audiology at 729-4086.

Great Scott Audiology has been in business for over 10 years and is located at 3 Horton Place in Topsham. For more information, visit www.greatscotttaudiology.com.