She could deal with constantly forgetting her shopping list, and she'd made a habit of writing down where she'd parked her car, each and every time. But in her mid-50s, Janis Mara's memory problems started costing her money. Late fees began piling up because she forgot to pay her bills.
"Over time, it really intensified," she says. "I wanted to think I was just getting older, but my fear was that it was Alzheimer's."
After bugging her HMO for an MRI, Mara discovered that her lapses weren't anything...
How loud is too loud? If you have to shout over surrounding noise, it's loud enough to damage your hearing. For example, the sounds from motorcycles, music players, and power tools like saws and drills are all loud enough to hurt your hearing over time.
2. Be a Quiet Enforcer
Turn down the ambient noise level in your life by buying appliances and devices that have low noise ratings. If ambient noise is too loud in a health club, movie theater, restaurant, or any other place you go often, ask the manager to turn it down.
3. Limit Exposure to Loud Sounds
Sometimes you can't avoid loud sounds. At those times, it's best to limit the amount of time you're exposed to them. Noise-induced hearing loss is a result of the loudness of sounds in addition to the duration of exposure.
4. Wear Hearing Protection
Wear ear protection if you know you're going to be exposed to loud sounds for more than a few minutes. Choices for protection include:
Earplugs. Usually made of foam or rubber, earplugs are worn in your ear canal and can reduce noise by 15 to 30 decibels. You can buy earplugs off-the-shelf or have them custom-made to fit you. Some ear plugs are designed to reduce noise levels evenly across all frequencies. These are useful for people who need to make sound quieter but undistorted, such as musicians.
Earmuffs. Designed to fit completely over your ears, earmuffs also reduce sounds by about 15 to 30 decibels. Remember that your earmuffs must fit tightly over both ears in order to block sound.
Earplugs and earmuffs can also be used together for even greater protection from loud sounds.