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Preventing noise-induced hearing loss

Repeated exposure to loud noise and even a one-time exposure
to loud noise can damage the delicate, sound-sensitive hair
cells in your inner ear. This type of hearing loss is irreversible
but preventable. To protect your hearing:
• Lower the volume on your TV and stereo
Choose personal stereos with an automatic volume limiter.
• Turn down the volume on headphones
By directing sound into your ear, headphones can produce
levels loud enough to damage your hearing. Hold your headset
an arm’s length away. If you can hear the sound, the volume
is probably too high.
• Muffle the sound
Noise can be damaging if you have to raise your voice to be
heard by someone an arm’s length away. Wear earplugs or
earmuffs when you’re around noisy tools, equipment or
firearms. Use commercially made devices that meet federal
standards. Make sure the protectors fit snugly. Don’t use
cotton earplugs. They’re ineffective and can become lodged
in your ear canal.
• Have your hearing tested
If you’re frequently around loud noise, have your hearing
checked annually. A hearing test can detect mild hearing loss
before the damage is obvious or disabling.

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