Happy New Year! Did you make your New Year’s Resolution? Many will try to achieve better fitness and better health. I think one thing on most people’s agenda is to stay in better touch with friends and family. I think that is actually mine. In such a busy world, we just don’t get to have as much contact with others as we should for our well-being.

Here’s one to think about — hearing protection. How about putting “protect my hearing” on your resolution list? Many people will have gotten tools, guns, motors, “toys” for all ages that, with continual use, can cause hearing loss. Many items emit sound pressure levels that can lead to damage of your hearing. If you use your tools, or toys, and your ears hurt or ring afterwards then there is a definite chance that your hearing has been damaged. Hearing loss can occur with sounds above 85 dB after just a few minutes. The louder the sounds, the quicker the hearing damage can occur.

For example: a squeeze toy – 90 db; Wet/Dry Vac – 94 db; weed eater – 96 db; leaf blower – 99 db; riding a motorcycle – 100 db; hedge trimmer – 103 db; sporting event – 105 db; chain saw – 110 db; emergency vehicle siren – 115 db; cap gun – 155 db; shotgun – 160 db.

Hearing protection can range from a couple of bucks to custom-made sound attenuators that can cost a couple of hundred. The cost depends upon the amount of noise you are trying to reduce as well as the amount of time you are exposed to it.

I encourage everyone to at least have a set of the little soft squishy foam plugs available for quick use. We hand them out regularly at different events and at our office. It takes two seconds to put them in your ears, yet they provide great protection of your precious hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud sounds. If you lower the volume of the sound and limit the amount of time you are around the sounds then you will reduce the impact of those damaging sounds. If you think, “this is loud!” It is ... put in some type of protection. To Hear Better Is To Live Better!

Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.