The UNC Hearing and Communication Center is dedicated to educating the public on the importance of hearing conservation.
Excessive exposure to high levels of noise can cause irreversible hearing loss, either immediately or over time. The UNC Hearing and Communication Center strives to educate the public on ways to protect their hearing and avoid communication difficulties caused by Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Some outreach projects include:
- Hispanic Health Fair Hearing Screening
- Musicians Hearing Health Initiative
- School Based Educational Programs
- UNC Hospitals Health Fair
Ear plugs and ear muffs, if used properly, will reduce the level of noise that reaches your ears and can help protect you from dangerous noise. There are many different types of hearing protection, and some can be more appropriate for a given situation than others. Consult with your audiologist if you have questions about what type of hearing protection is best for you. Some types that are available include:
- Disposable ear plugs: often made of foam or rubber, compressed for insertion into the ear and then expands to keep out unwanted noise
- Custom ear plugs: formed using an impression of one’s ear canal, custom molded
- Musician’s ear plugs: custom molded, utilizes a filter to reduce loudness while preserving musical integrity
- Ear muffs: worn over the ear and should sit flush to the head
- Swim plugs: custom molded, provides seal in the ear to keep out water
It is estimated that 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from Noise Induced Hearing Loss, and around 22 million people work in settings that are potentially hazardous to their hearing. UNC Hearing and Communication Center Audiologists perform annual hearing screenings on industrial employees that are exposed to these loud sounds and they provide information on proper steps for hearing conservation.