Sounds of autumn are hard to miss in October. We have those noisy lawnmowers and hardworking leaf blowers being by used by many, children giggling at trick-or-treat time, loud concerts and other things which we may hear daily or once in a while. Some of these noises stay with us for longer than we realize. After a very loud event, such as a football game or concert, normal hearing usually returns within a few hours to a few days. However, repeated exposure to loud noises will eventually damage the inner ear permanently.

Ways to protect your hearing include turning down the volume, of course, and taking periodic breaks from the noise and using hearing protection such as headphones or ear plugs.

We often think that hearing damage is usually work related. Activities away from work can damage hearing just as much as a noisy job. Over half of the adults with hearing damage do not have noisy jobs.

By the time you notice hearing loss, many hair cells have been destroyed and cannot be repaired. We are born with approximately 16,000 hair cells within the inner ear. These cells allow your brain to detect sounds. By the time changes in your hearing can be measured by a hearing test, up to 30-50% of hair cells can be damaged or destroyed. There is no treatment for hearing loss. Damaged inner ear cells do not grow back.

Protect your hearing, and if you already have a hearing loss, take steps to keep it from getting worse.

This month marks National Protect Your Hearing month, a nationwide effort to encourage healthy hearing habits and prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Aim to prevent the damaging effects of dangerous sound levels by raising awareness in your community.