Hearing empowers us and enriches our lives. Hearing enables us to socialize, work, interact, communicate and even relax. Good hearing also helps to keep us safe, warning us of potential danger or alerting us to someone’s distress.
Hearing is essential for us to be able to live and participate in life more fully. Problems with our hearing may lead to feelings of isolation and even depression. Our hearing provides us with an enormous source of information, some of it obvious and some we barely notice but when combined, this information forms the bridge between the world and how we interact with it. Hearing helps us lead our everyday lives without limitations.
Each ear consists of delicate and highly complex mechanisms. In “the inner” ear, a sea of tiny sensory cells and nerve fibers pick up sound vibrations and transform them into electrical impulses for the brain to process. If the ear is exposed to strong vibrations over time, the sensory cells and fibers can become damaged, if these are unable to heal or be replaced, this can lead to permanent hearing loss.
The ear, despite its small size, is a highly complex organ. Acting as sound filter, the ear transforms every sound audible to us into accurate information the brain
Many people know it can be challenging to follow conversations in some places, like in a noisy restaurant. The reason for this is that speech is made up of a great number of different sounds, put together in a very rapid flow.
For instance, the high-pitched consonants like f, s and t are easily drowned out by louder, low pitched vowels like a, o and u.
When it comes to hearing, it may come as a surprise to learn that the brain works harder than the ears, this is why in noisy environments, such as in a crowded restaurant, it can be very frustrating just trying to follow conversation. Even people with no hearing loss can find this challenging.
Faced with noisy situations, our cognitive system works hard to decipher and separate sounds. Someone with only slight hearing loss can often feel exhausted after visiting a noisy venue.
Ordinarily your brain will be able to sort through all information you apply your attention to through a cognitive process: Simply the brain organizes, selects and follows.
It´s no surprise to learn that as we live our lives we are exposed to vast amounts of sounds at all different levels. Sounds that exceed 85 dB SPL are usually considered harmful.
What you may not realize is that 85 db SPL equates to the sound of noisy traffic.
Regular exposure to sounds at or over 85 db SPL do irreversible damage but the good news is that we can protect our hearing and take simple steps to prevent possible damage or further damage.