One of the myths about hearing loss is that you lose your ability to hear all sounds. In my case, I am not clearing hearing high frequency sounds, such as s, t, f and I also miss out on some mid-range sounds such as sh, ch, g.
This means that when I don't wear my hearing aids, I have to work harder to hear, also the sounds I do hear seem considerably louder (and more annoying).
I love everything about swimming at The Sungod Pool, except for one thing: the volume of the music.
I believe that part of my hearing loss has come about because I have spent many years working in noisy environments, such as swimming pools. Not only am I concerned personally, but I also care about the hearing of the people who spend time in that facility. Hearing aids are costly and they certainly don't make up for lost hearing.
To be fair, when I ask, most guards will turn the volume down. I'm sure that they're rolling their eyes when they see me coming. Needless to say, it gets tiresome being the noise police.
So, $68.00 later, I decided to purchase custom-made earplugs. They're not perfect; when the music is loud, it still is loud. They're certainly not attractive, but at least they stay in my ears sort of, unlike the commercially purchased ones, which tend to slip out of my narrow ear canals.
But now that I'm wearing earplugs, I notice a number of patrons and lifeguards doing the same. That is telling!
Last week, before the volume increased when another guard decided that it wasn't loud enough, I actually was able to have a conversation with the people in my lane. Normally, people have to shout to be heard, and then say "Pardon?" a number of times. One of the benefits of exercise is that it increases social interaction; this is definitely hindering it. It takes way too much effort to communicate. Even when I talk to the guards, they're saying pardon! What happens if someone gets into trouble in the pool? Will the guards even hear the cry for help?
The pool is a noisy enough environment without the blaring music. With lessons ongoing in that pool, I feel badly for children and adults who may have some sort of hearing deficit. Bear in mind that I'm not asking for the music to be turned off completely, just that some sort of guidelines be established to save our hearing. Perhaps adjusting the volume according to the number of swimmers?
Now you can bring your own decibel reader into public places - not just swimming pools - but food courts, classrooms and libraries, just so you can be aware of what is happening to your hearing.
I'm curious. Do you have RA and hearing loss? Do you find that the music is too loud in your pool or exercise class? What about in other environments that you frequent?
On Hear! Hear!, a guest post I wrote for Great Supplies, I talk about the similarities between stress and hearing loss.