Dangerous Decibels: loud noises can lead to significant hearing loss

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – Too much of anything is not a good thing.  It’s a phrase many of us have heard before and it’s often associated with the material possessions in life.  Doctors say there’s another indulgence that has its ups and downs — loud sounds.

Stephanie Majesty knows about hearing loss. Majesty says she suddenly lost her hearing in her adult years.  Her loss of hearing is not associated with loud sounds but for her a hearing loss is a hearing loss. “If someone is right next to you it’s hard to hear.  It’s hard to hear where sounds are coming from. I can’t tell if my phone is ringing.  If I can’t see it, I don’t know where it is at,” explains Majesty.

Majesty has an implant attached to a bone near her ear. She says the implant acts as a sound conductor. It’s an improvement but nothing like the real thing. “I can’t have a lot of noise around me.  If I’m on the telephone and if you’re trying to talk to me when I’m on the telephone forget it I cannot hear you because I have something else in this ear going on,” adds Majesty.

Dr.  Donna Jean Wilson is the Medical Director for the Lafayette Parish School System. Dr. Wilson says high-frequency hearing loss can be the result of many sources. “It’s just that children are more likely to be using headphones, music, and electronics for longer and longer periods,” says Wilson.

Dr. Wilson says even some headphones marketed to be noise restricting don’t always live up to those claims. Dr. Wilson says student’s pre-k through 7th and then again at grade ten are screened for hearing loss. “They recommend no more than 60% of the volume on your headphones of the maximum volume and no more than 60 minutes.”

“You also worry about hunting and if they are using their appropriate hearing protection.  If they are mowing the lawn or using a chainsaw,” notes Dr. Wilson.

Former U.S. Marine and current gun shop owner George Fournet agrees with doctors. “Everyone who squeezes a trigger should have at least one set of ear plugs or ear muffs or the combination of both.”

Fournet says ear protection is much like wearing a seat belt and it’s a necessity. “There’s no end to the damage and the affect it will have on life experiences later on,” says Fournet.

“Once you lose your hearing you don’t get it back.  We don’t have a way to fix it,” says Dr. Wilson.

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