Home and Hearing Loss
As we all know, home is where the heart is. It is the place where we find comfort and security, the place where we can unwind and truly be ourselves. We think of our home as the safest place in the world, yet there are considerable hearing health dangers lurking around some of the corners at home which we need to be aware of.
Hearing loss is a gradual process which is why we often do not notice any difference in our hearing until we have already suffered a great deal of hearing damage. Our homes are often filled with electronic appliances that pose as threats to our hearing health.
Noisy electronic appliances can cause noise-induced damage to hearing. One of the culprits is the innocent-looking hairdryer. This device might be handy in drying your hair in a jiffy, but due to its close proximity to your ears with an exposure time of 10-15 minutes at 80 to 90 dB sound levels emitted by hairdryers, it can damage your hearing over time. The American Speech and Hearing Association has ranked hairdryers under the “very loud” devices section. It might therefore be a good idea to use earplugs the next time you are thinking of using your hairdryer.
Another major appliance that can cause hearing damage is the vacuum cleaner. These devices reach between 70-90dB of sound levels, depending on the model that is used. Thankfully, Consumer Reports suggest that vacuum cleaner manufacturers are well aware of the annoying sound that vacuum cleaners makes and have come up with various quieter options that provide less sound emission with superior cleaning results.
Yet another problematic appliance that is used is the lawn mower, which emits approximately 90dB of sound. This sound level exceeds the maximum level of safe sound at 85dB, as recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Thankfully, even lawn mower manufacturers such as Briggs & Stratton have become aware of the problems caused by noisy lawn mowers. According to the Chicago Tribune, Briggs & Stratton are creating a lawn mower that has a considerably less noisy engine which will hopefully reduce the dangers to hearing posed by lawn mowers.
The final electronic appliance that can damage hearing is the blender. Health-conscious individuals are addicted to their morning smoothies and shakes, but these blenders are possibly the most harmful appliances of them all. At higher speed levels, blenders can reach up to an alarming 100 dB of sound, which is extremely detrimental over a period of time. Thankfully, due to raised awareness about the problems posed by noise pollution, Vitamix blender manufacturers have developed models such as the Vitamix 7500 which emits 40% less sound than its predecessors. This results in a reduction of 7 dB of sound, but it is still advisable to use earplugs or use your blender at low settings whenever possible.
Your hearing is precious; protect it to the best of your ability since hearing loss is irreversible. Make sure the electronic appliances at your home do not cause hearing damage by implementing protective measures before using loud appliances.