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11 COMMANDMENTS TO PROTECT YOUR HEARING

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Reported in Ecophon Acoustic Bulletin (November 3, 2008) screening of primary school pupils’ hearing wasn’t a research program only. One of the main tasks was to build awareness toward hearing protection and noise control. A short guide for children, parents and teachers has been prepared, with advises how to protect hearing and how to find first signs of problems. Polish readers can have a look at original text here. Less fluent in Polish can click link below for English translation.

1. Avoid noise – unwanted sound that can be harmful for your health. Noise is a cause of irritation and tiredness, headache and sleeplessness. That has an negative impact on your efficiency at school and work. High level noise can destroy your hearing but also may drive to heart diseases, stomach ulcers and neurosis.
2. Listen silent and moderated sounds that are similar in its level to natural ones. Sounds that are pleasant and not causing tiredness, irritation, headache and tinnitus (constant noise in ears, heard in silence). Don’t follow yours reckless colleagues feeding themselves with cacophony.
3. Save your ears. Listen to the music using loudspeakers rather than earphones. Adjust music’s volume to the safe level – you should be able to understand somebody talking to you when music is on.
4. Save your ears and whole organism. Listen to the music using full frequency band. Low frequency (bass) loud music and vibrations affects negatively our hearing apparatus but also our psyche, emotions, internal secretions driving to serious psychosomatic malfunctions.
5. Loud club or disco noise causes, at the beginning, so called hearing temporary threshold shift. That means temporary partial hearing loss as a noise exposure effect. After certain time of recovery, normal hearing sensitivity returns. The depth and duration of that effect depends on noise level and exposition time. If exposition to high noise is regular, the second stage is tinnitus – constant noise (whistle) heard in ears in silence. Finally, frequent noise expositions repeated for certain time drives to PTS: permanent threshold shift – irreversible hearing loss.
6. Playing with petards and fireworks, shooting firearms without earplugs leads to deafness. Using fireworks etc., you have remember, that it can be more harmful for accompanying persons, that for you yourself. Person that launch firework is, more or less, prepared for explosion – both mentally and physically (he can simple plug his ears in right moment). Somebody not warned, standing close to you could be shocked by sudden burst. Also don’t shout directly to someone’s ear, don’t use for similar purpose any music instruments (trumpet for instance).
7. If involved in fight – protect your head. Head injures often cause hearing loss. Flat palm hit to the ear can be easily reason of drum head (membrane) perforation.
8. Hygiene. Wash your ears with soap water and dry it up with towel. Don’t put any items to external auditory canal. Cosmetic buds are not for ears! When you use them to “clean” your ear, you are destroying natural mechanism of self-cleaning, and just part of ear wax is removed. The rest is pushed to the end of auditory canal like powder in canon barrel. That result in building wax plug that has to be removed by laryngologist. By putting cosmetic sticks into ear, you can also easily damage your drum head.
9. Visit laryngologist when you hear whistling or other constant sound in perfect silence, when you have difficulties with understanding teacher (at least bigger that your school mates), when you are the only person in your group/family that tends to watch TV louder, when you suffer pain while being exposed to noise (e.g. during noisy break at school).
10. Frequent, returning upper airways infections, otitis (ear infection), allergies, snoring, tonsillitis (tonsil infection) should be a subject of medical consultations with laryngologist.
11. If you have problems with writing from listening, with reading, with concentration – visit specialist and ask for hearing examination.

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