A noisy environment can have a dramatic impact on your hearing, and it’s a concern that’s highlighted by new research published by the Hearing Research Society.
Researchers at the University of Toronto’s School of Speech, Drama and Music studied more than 200 adults between the ages of 20 and 62, who were exposed to a range of noise levels over the course of three years.
What they found was that, compared to the quietest ambient noise, loudest noise was associated with worse hearing.
And when they combined this noise with the most distracting music, they found that noise cancelers actually worsened hearing.
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“We found that those who had spent most of their time in noisy environments showed worse hearing, which may indicate that noise cancellation improves hearing as well,” the researchers write.
The researchers found that these findings were also confirmed when they looked at people who had been exposed to noise levels of 60 decibels or more.
Those people who spent most time in loud environments had the least improvement in hearing.
What’s more, the researchers found a similar relationship between the amount of noise the subjects heard and how well they responded to auditory stimuli.
In other words, the louder a noise is, the more impaired hearing it produces.
So, while a simple noise cancellation earplug may not seem like a big deal, it could be the difference between a good and bad hearing experience.
In fact, the results of this study may point to a new approach to hearing protection that could be a lot more effective at improving hearing.
According to the researchers, this study has the potential to revolutionize how we can use noise cancelings to improve hearing in people with hearing loss.
“If we can identify the noise-cancelling effect of a particular noise source, we could use it to help people who are in environments that are noisy to improve their hearing,” said lead author Dr. Peter Koepp.
“This would be a major step forward in the field of noise-free earplucks, but more research is needed to fully evaluate its potential benefits.”
If you have any questions or concerns about hearing, you can talk to your hearing specialist about the benefits of noise cancels.
If you’d like to get your ears checked for hearing loss, the Hearing Information and Support Center (HISRC) is also looking for volunteers.
You can find out more about the program and how to apply at www.hisfrc.ca/counselling.
You’ll need to fill out a questionnaire and fill out an application form before being matched with a counselor.