An ounce of prevention is worth infinitely more than a pound of cure. Protect your hearing today for a healthier tomorrow.

At the end of last year, as the holidays were rolling around, we received a number of calls from family members wanting to give gifts of hearing protection-custom ‘Musician’s Earplugs’, ‘shooter’s plugs’, etc. 

I was overjoyed to receive those calls, but not for the reason you may be thinking or expect. Sure, as a “business” (which is not the way I think about my audiology practice), we are always happy to get new customers.

We get to help more people! But the reason I was so happy was because, to me, it’s a positive sign of greater awareness regarding hearing conservation (protecting your ears) and the danger of loud noise exposure.

A Pair of Custom Earmolds

When it comes to sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss, an ounce of prevention is worth infinitely more than a pound of cure. Because there is no cure for hearing loss. And the really insidious thing about NIHL (noise induced hearing loss) is that the symptoms of damaging loud noise exposure don’t manifest until years later.    

And yet I see too many instances of people disregarding/damaging their ears. I personally have a passion for live improvisational music. And without protection, each and every concert I attend would be damaging to my inner ear (cochlea). Because of my professional interest, I notice far too many people are unprotected, often including the musicians! Other examples I observe include construction workers without protection or pulling up to a car playing music so loud MY car is vibrating.   

Are people cognisant of the damage they’re doing to themselves and just ignoring the danger, like smoking or texting while driving? The field of Audiology effectively began in the late 1940’s, due in large part to the number of WWII veterans returning with NIHL from combat and other loud noise exposure. For decades, the field has been working to educate about the dangers and impact of NIHL and it’s prevention.

On some levels, we are doing a better job with awareness and prevention in certain areas (industry, military). Where we need to make more inroads is with the general public. There are plenty of places where the general public is (perhaps unwittingly) exposed to dangerous levels of sound-concert venues, sporting arenas/stadiums, bars/clubs, mass transit (BART anyone?!) etc.

In the medical arena, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants can be a powerful force for educating those in their care. Audiologists will continue to raise awareness of the issue. Maybe it’s finally starting to sink in, at least a little. 

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Jonathan Lipschutz Audiologist, M.S., F-AAA, Owner

Jonathan is the owner of Berkeley Hearing Center. He received his bachelor of science in hearing and speech science and a master of science in audiology from Purdue University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and the California Academy of Audiology. Jonathan has over 20 years of audiology and hearing aid experience in both the non-profit and corporate sectors.

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