LOCAL audiologist Kelli Noguchi is encouraging residents to think about their ear health during Hearing Awareness Week from March 3 to 9.
With data from Access Economics and the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that 8625 people in the Redlands have undiagnosed hearing loss, Dr Noguchi said there were a number of preventative behaviours residents could adopt to preserve their hearing.
Dr Noguchi, audiologist with Specsavers Victoria Point, said many people did not realise the amount of noise it took to harm hearing.
"Sounds above 85 decibels can be damaging to your ears over a prolonged period of time and it’s advised to protect your ears if you’re constantly around these," she said.
"To give perspective, a lawn mower is around 90 decibels and a food blender is around 88 decibels."
Loud music through headphones would also be damaging to ear health, she said.
Dr Noguchi said people cleaning their ears with cotton buds could do more harm than good, with the potential to cause damage to the eardrum or ear canal and hearing loss.
“If it’s smaller than your elbow, don’t put it in your ear unless directed by a professional," she said.
She encouraged adults to keep on top of their ear health with regular hearing tests, even if they hadn't noticed any changes to their hearing.
"Hearing loss is a gradual thing," she said.
"It can happen over several years and at first most people don’t notice that they are missing out on certain sounds and words."
She said adults, especially those over 40, should have their hearing tested every two years.
"In Australia, it is estimated that just over 20% of the adult population has hearing loss and this number grows to 50% for those over 65 years of age," she said.
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