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Hair dryers can damage hearing over time

Hair dryers can damage hearing over time
Posted at 11:29 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 23:30:13-05

"When you have that blow dryer in your ear all day long and then other people's blow dryers around you, that noise is constant," says Leister.

Leister believes this could be partly to blame for her hearing loss.

"You start realizing the impact after the first couple years. In a room when we're talking and there's background noise or different tones, like if there's someone talking low, it's really hard for me to hear," says Leister.

Loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss.

And one sound you've probably heard before in your home, a hair-dryer. But did you know that sound could be damaging your hearing?

Kristen Leister is co-owner of Narcissus Salon and Spa in Catonsville and says hair dryers are always being used throughout the day at her job.

That's not surprising to Erin Stauder, Executive Director of Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore, who says hair dryers do cause hearing loss.

Stauder says, "The decibels that most hair dryers run at are in the high eighties and we know that any exposure to noise levels in that range is going to result in hearing loss."

"Most of the time people notice it over time," she continues. "But short term acute events can absolutely damage the hearing. So anytime you're exposed to noise in a dangerous range you can experience immediate effects."

While anyone can be affected, there are some who are more at risk.

"It's going to be individuals who are working in environments where hair-dryers are running all day long. So it's going to be stylists, receptionists, who work within a salon as well as support staff that work in those facilities," says Stauder.

An estimated 26 million Americans between 20 and 69 years-old have irreversible hearing loss caused by loud sounds. Once the tiny hair cells in the ear are damaged or destroyed, they can't be replaced.

"Once it's gone it's gone. And there's research coming out that's telling us that there is a strong relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline," says Stauder.

Stauder recommends stylists put ear buds in while blow drying clients, and for the people at home: "Protect your hearing. Groups like HASA, we sell noise canceling headphones and hearing protection devices both for home, commercial and personal use."

Hair dryers aren't the only household item that can contribute to hearing loss over time. Stauder says blenders are also extremely loud. And with the current smoothie and shake trend, that daily exposure could result in hearing loss down the road.