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Loud noise x time = hearing loss!

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Both kinds can erode your hearing over time. The loss is painless, gradual and permanent. By the time you notice you're losing your hearing, the damage is already done. Here are some telltale signs:

* You have trouble understanding conversations, especially with background noise.

* You keep cranking up the volume on your stereo and TV because you can't make out the words.

But it's more serious than that. Good hearing is critical in combat, and hearing loss impairs your performance. You can no longer clearly hear radio messages or verbal orders. Nor can you detect the sounds of combat: approaching vehicles, the closing of a rifle bolt or enemy footsteps on leaves and twigs.

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The good news is, you can prevent hearing loss caused by noise. Here are a few suggestions:

* Get rid of the noise or reduce the noise level.

* Wear hearing protection: earplugs, noise muffs or helmets with ear cups, like the aircrew integrated helmet system or the combat vehicle crewman's helmet.

* Limit the amount of time you spend around noise or increase your distance from the noise.

Your safety office or preventive medicine people can test your workplace for dangerous noise levels. They'll tell you what kind of hearing protection to use.

To learn more about hazardous noise and saving your hearing, go to the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine Hearing Conservation Program's home page: http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/hcp/default.aspx

Here you'll find information and resources to help build your own local hearing program.
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Publication:PS, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly
Date:Apr 1, 2008
Words:258
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