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Hearing Safety at Home

Transcript

Ryan

Hey, hon’. Yeah, I’m just leaving work. I’m just gonna stop at the store, then I’ll be home. Pick up what? Sorry, babe, I missed that. A car just went by. What brand? Oh, yeah, yeah, I’ll get it. So, what? Oh yeah, it went okay. I’ll tell you about it when I get home. All right. Love you too. Bye.

Ryan

Hey, babe.

Marie

Hi.

Ben

Dad!

Ryan

Hey, buddy!

Ben

You wanna see something I can do on my bike, Dad?

Ryan

Maybe after dinner, if it’s still light out. I’ll be home all day tomorrow too ‘cause it’s the weekend. So I get to spend all day with you. What do you think about that?

Ben

Awesome!

Marie

Oh, Ryan, I asked you to get diet.

Ryan

Really? I thought you just said regular. Sorry.

Marie

Maybe you need to get your ears checked.

Ryan

Or maybe we just need better cell phone service.

Marie

Sure.

Ben

Watch this, Dad!

Ryan

That’s great, Ben!

Ben

Ow! Dad! Dad! Dad!

Marie

Ben! Ryan!

Ryan

What happened?

Marie

Didn’t you hear him crying? Come on, honey, let’s get you cleaned up.

Ryan

I couldn’t hear over the music. I’m sorry, buddy.

Marie

How’s that?

Ben

Good.

Ryan

Tough kid.

Marie

Ryan. Ryan!

Marie

What if didn’t come outside when I did?

Ryan

What do you mean?

Marie

I mean our son was hurt and you didn’t know because you couldn’t hear.

Ryan

He’s okay. He just scraped his knee. What’s the big deal?

Marie

Yeah, thank God that’s all it was. But what if it was something more serious?

Ryan

Like what?

Marie

Like anything. Someone could drive up and kidnap him, he could have got hit by a car. I mean, who knows. The point is you didn’t hear him, and you should have.

Ryan

What do you expect me to keep my eyes on him 24/7?

Marie

I want you to get your hearing checked.

Ryan

Okay. Fine.

AUDIOLOGY TECH

You’re going to hear a series of sounds. Any time you hear something, just press this clicker, no matter how soft it is. Got it?

Ryan

Yup, thanks.

Dr. Emerson

I’m glad you came in, Ryan. According to your audiogram, you do have some mild hearing loss.

Ryan

What does that mean?

Dr. Emerson

Well, it means you’ve probably spent a little too much time around loud noises without the proper hearing protection. 85 decibels is generally considered the threshold for safe noise. Anything over that is hazardous, especially if you’re exposed to it for an extended period of time. What kind of work do you do?

Ryan

I spend most of my day at a desk. I mean, the loudest thing at my office is the phone ringing.

Dr. Emerson

Have you deployed?

Ryan

No.

Dr. Emerson

Do you go to a lot of rock concerts? Nightclubs? Sporting events?

Ryan

Not since we had our son, but back in the day, yeah, I did a lot of that kind of stuff.

Dr. Emerson

That’s probably where it started. But normal activities around your home, like using the lawn mower or a weed whacker … those can cause the same type of hearing loss as well.

Ryan

My wife makes sure I do plenty of that.

Dr. Emerson

Well, it might be a good idea to invest in a good pair of noise muffs. Or you can buy some disposable ear plugs.

Ryan

What’s the difference? If I’m already losing my hearing…

Dr. Emerson

That’s a great question. They’ll keep it from getting worse. Right now, you only have mild hearing loss. Makes hearing over the phone more difficult, especially if there’s background noise. Might be hard to understand a conversation while you’re driving. And, obviously, when there’s music playing, it makes it difficult for you to hear anything over it. But if you continue to expose your ears to hazardous noise without the proper hearing protection, it’ll just get worse.

Ryan

Okay. So what else can I do besides wearing hearing protection? I mean, are there any treatments?

Dr. Emerson

Well, that’s the thing about noise-induced hearing loss. You can never fully restore your ability to hear. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices can help sounds seem louder, but they can’t replace what you’ve lost.

Ryan

Hearing aids? Like the kind old people use?

Dr. Emerson

People with mild hearing loss like yours generally don’t use hearing aids. They just learn to deal with situations that make hearing more difficult for them. But if you don’t start using hearing protection, you will need hearing aids eventually. A lot of people don’t even know they have noise-induced hearing loss until natural, age-related hearing loss compounds the problem. You’re lucky you caught it this early so you can keep it from getting worse.

Ben

Hi, Dad!

Ryan

Hey, buddy. Almost done, and then I’ll watch you on your bike, okay?

Ben

Okay!

Ryan

Hey, you wanna help me finish?

Ben

Yeah.

Ryan

Got your ear plugs?

Ben

Yup.

Ryan

Here we go. All right, I’m gonna squish ‘em up all tiny…

TAG

Protect your hearing. It’s a noisy world.

Quick Fact

#21

No two ears are the same, which is important to keep in mind when ensuring proper fit for hearing protective devices. During hearing protection testing, there is a <2mm difference in insertion depth between eighty-five percent of subjects’ left and right ears.

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The Hearing Center of Excellence fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. It supports the development, exchange and adoption of best practices, research, measures of effectiveness and clinical care guidelines to reduce the prevalence and cost of hearing loss and tinnitus among Warriors and Veterans. Read more

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