Consumer Guide 2 - Page 6

Protect your Hearing Frequent or prolonged exposure to loud noise (85dB+) is dangerous and damaging to your hearing. The tiny hair cells of the inner ear can be damaged by an intense one-off impulse, such as an explosion, or by continuous and / or repeated exposure to noise. Examples of noise levels considered dangerous by experts are using a lawnmower, attending a rock concert, using firearms, setting off fireworks, using headphones to listen to loud music, riding motorcycles, driving HGVs and using household appliances (food processors for example). All of these can measure over 90 decibels and some up to 140dB. It is so important that if you are going to be exposed to noise levels exceeding 85dB, you should always use hearing protection to prevent damage to your hearing. If you already have a hearing loss, it’s even more important to avoid extreme noise as the damage may be accelerated. Better hearing with both ears We are born with two ears for a good reason. Just as you use both eyes to focus better, see things in more perspective and judge distances accurately; this is the same with your hearing as you need two ears to hear properly. Hearing with two ears allows us to hear sounds more accurately, giving improved perception of space, direction and balance. When there is a hearing loss present in both ears, even if one ear is worse than the other, wearing two aids provides the most benefit. Thus enabling you to hear voices from further away, tell where they are coming from, and listen and understand more clearly in the presence of distracting background noises. Auditory Deprivation Do you become tired by trying to fill in the gaps that you can't hear in a conversation? Have you noticed that you tend to avoid participating in group situations and feel a loss of self-esteem and confidence? This is because a hearing loss causes decreasing levels of sound stimulation reaching the brain, gradually over a long period of time. This is known as auditory deprivation. It is extremely important to recognise this condition as soon as possible as the longer it is ignored, the more likely it is that your brain will become increasingly tired with the extra effort required for a conversation, and the harder it is to reverse with hearing aids. It is also important to wear two hearing aids, as just wearing one can also cause auditory deprivation. This is because the ear without the hearing aid is being deprived of sound stimulation and will gradually weaken over time. Rediscovering Sound Hearing aids can lift the cloud to reveal a world of sounds that seemed lost and gone forever. They can make a startling difference to your life. If you have waited a long time before getting hearing aids, certain new sounds might seem rather loud or distracting. This is because the brain forgets what it was like to be able to hear those sounds, and it has to remember them all over again. In the same way a newborn baby is drawn to new and exciting stimuli, the hearing-impaired brain has to re-learn to focus on the sounds that are important, and filter out everything else. It’s a process that takes time, typically 3 to 9 months. Our job is to support you throughout that time. 6