Hearing loss is permanent! - Keep what you still have.
On Tuesday 19 November 2019 Nick Parkyn from Bloom Hearing Specialists spoke about hearing loss or, more importantly, how to keep what we still have.
Nick Parkyn and the Shed's Owen Curtis at the Health Talk
Hearing loss is related to exposure to noise energy over time. The national workplace standards define the maximum allowable noise exposure as 85dBA for 8 hours. 85dBA is approximately the sound level of a hair dryer. If the noise energy is doubled the dBA increases by only 3 dBA and the exposure must be halved to remain compliant. It's important to note that double the noise energy will not sound twice as loud, it is a modest but noticeable increase in volume.
There are a number of ways to reduce the noise energy reaching the ears, the most obvious one in our control is hearing protection. In a work situation there are rules and the foreman enforcing use of hearing protection. In the shed, or at home, it's up to us to exercise the discipline of maintaining our hearing. There was some discussion on how to manage this at the NMS, i.e. how to warn others that you are about to operate loud machinery. No conclusion was reached other than we don't want to be too prescriptive but rather let members take on the responsibility themselves.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a common complaint among the more mature crowd common in the shed. This is an indication of hearing damage and a simplified explanation is the brain increasing the sensitivity to make up for the hearing loss causing the background ringing sound. In some cases use of hearing aids will allow the brain to reduce the sensitivity back to normal levels reducing the tinnitus.
Nick covered a number of other topics including hearing aids and cochlear implants, however the main thrust was emphasizing that loss is permanent and we need to protect what we still have. He left a number of resources for further information including a fact sheet called Noise, Hearing Protection and You. Additional information is also available on the Bloom Hearing website.