Greetings to all,
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Psalm 100:1.
Noises and sounds surround us at all times, every day, everywhere at work, at school and at home. This month of May, we will be outside more and exposed to more sounds, so let’s focus on what effects noise has on our ears and hearing.
Sound is “vibrations transmitted through an elastic solid, liquid, or gas with frequencies in the approximate range of 20-20,000 hertz, capable of being detected by human organs of hearing (www.thefreedictionary.com). Noise is “a sound that is loud, unpleasant, unexpected or undesired” (www.thefreedictionary.com). The human ear hears frequencies of 250 hertz to 8000 hertz, with the greatest sensitivity between 1000 hertz and 4000 hertz. Sound waves vary in intensity (loudness) and these are measured in decibels. The upper limit of normal decibels is 25 decibels.
Eight hours of exposure above 85-90 decibels an cause hearing loss. High frequency hearing losses are due to noise exposure to frequencies between 4000 and 6000 decibels. This loss does not affect one’s hearing speech sounds immediately, so this can go unnoticed for years. High frequency hearing loss can gradually cause lower frequency loss until speech is affected.
What can cause hearing loss? Repeated exposure to noise such as a saw, drill, gunfire, lawnmowers, loud music, etc. can damage the ear’s nerve cells, which can result in permanent hearing loss.
To minimize this exposure to unwanted noise, wear earplugs (foam) or earmuffs\noise canceling headphones when working or playing around intense noise. Also, have your hearing evaluated at regular intervals by your health care provider.
Excerpt from: A Collection of Parish Nurse Newsletters by Ruth E. Williams RN, MEPD, MSN