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Ask Anna: Can noise damage my hearing even though I have hearing loss?

hearing damage

Ask Anna is a weekly advice column for the hearing loss community.

Dear Anna,

I am hard of hearing, but I enjoy going to concerts and listening to music. Can my hearing be damaged by noise even though I have already lost most of my hearing? Do I still have to wear hearing protection? I would like to keep as much of my hearing as possible.

Thanks,

Worried musician

Hi worried musician,

Even though you have a hearing loss, your ears can still be damaged by loud noise. General information on protection of your ears still applies.

  • In situations such as concerts, etc., use earplugs and maintain an adequate distance from the source of the noise to avoid damage to hearing.
  • To enable recovery, deliberately take acoustic breaks and switch off all sources of noise (radio, TV, etc.). This is particularly important after going to a disco or working in a noisy environment. In these situations, the ears should be given at least 10 hours of rest.

What if you wear hearing aids?

However, if you wear hearing aids what happens? You need to wear your hearing aids to hear but then can’t wear earplugs.

Hearing aids can reduce sound

Modern digital hearing aids do have maximum output limits that will cut off or reduce sounds above a certain level. There are also features built into modern hearing aids that reduce noise, either constant or impulse noises, to make the sounds more comfortable.  Despite all these features the listening experience of the concert through hearing aids may not sound how you want it to. Some people prefer to remove their hearing aids in these situations.

If you remove hearing aids still put in those earplugs.

“If you remove hearing aids still put in those earplugs.”

Earplugs typically reduce the level of loudness by 15 to 35 decibels. The more the loud noise is reduced, the longer you can spend in the noisy environment.

Use your earmold as an earplug!

Hearing aids with earmolds can offer a small degree of protection as the earmold can also be used in a similar way to an earplug.

Your experience and what you choose to do will depend on the level of your hearing loss and if you wear hearing aids or not. The main message is always to remember to protect your ears.

Read more: How to recognise and protect yourself from dangerous sounds

Do you have a question for Anna? Email: feedback@hearinglikeme.com or in the comments below. 

 
The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Hearing Like Me website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.
Anna Biggins
Anna Biggins
Anna is currently the Senior Audiology Manager at Phonak. She has worked in the field of audiology and hearing aids for 25 years, and is passionate about all things audiology.