Posted on Aug 24, 2019

And the Rockets’ Red Glare…

It’s not the “red glare” we should worry about, it’s “the bombs bursting in air!” In fact, there are many noises that can cause permanent trauma to the ears. Just this week, a patient came to see me because he was concerned that he ruptured his eardrum when a pistol fired close to his ear. The sound of the gunshot was so loud that afterwards he couldn’t hear anything except a loud buzzing (he was experiencing noise trauma from the explosive sound). Fortunately, he did not rupture his eardrum and his hearing gradually returned its prior level. The buzzing slowly subsided as well, but his experience was a reminder that noise (not age) is the number one cause of hearing loss. In The New York Times, Jane Brody asserts that “Tens of millions of Americans, including 12 percent to 15 percent of school-age children, already have permanent hearing loss caused by the everyday noise that we take for granted as a fact of life.” Loud noises and/or chronic exposure to certain sounds can damage the fixed number of hair cells located in the inner ear, resulting in symptoms such as high frequency hearing loss and a reduced ability to understand speech.

Dangerous Noise Levels All Around Us

There are many sounds that can damage hearing in modern society; some of the most common include portable music devices utilizing earbuds or headphones, guns, farm and lawn equipment, fireworks, sirens, vacuum cleaners, car alarms, concerts, hair dryers, kitchen appliances, motorcycle engines, and even certain toys. Whether it is a sudden, traumatic noise or a sustained exposure to loud noise from sources such as power tools or other machinery, noise can cause permanent hearing loss at any age.  I always advise patients that while we cannot control the impact of age on our hearing, we can control the noise, either by avoidance or use of hearing protection devices. Contact us at AHA to find out more about environmental threats to your hearing and what you can do to protect yourself!


  • “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!! In two visits you’ve brought my hearing levels close to perfect for me. Not exactly sure how, but the last session settings have me hearing the television at a near normal volume level without using the 4th ‘outdoor’ setting (which works perfectly as well). The fitting is comfortable, without any slippage of device or feedback. After nearly 4 years, I finally feel like the devices are worthwhile.”

  • “Dr. Jan Liles at Alabama Hearing Associates has demonstrated integrity, professional competence, patience, and a true interest in improving my ability to hear. She was candid from the beginning, acknowledging that I have a very difficult hearing loss and will never hear as I did before. She has gone the extra mile in attempting to improve my hearing, trying four different hearing aids over a period of several months, patiently listening to my observations about each one, and helping me to chose the hearing aid best suited for me. After the selection, she continues to work dilligently with me to make sure that I receive the maximum benefit from my hearing aids.”

  • “Progressive hearing loss has made it necessary for me to wear first one, now two hearing aids, since the mid-1980’s. During the past twenty years I have lived in various places from a small island 3,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, to New Mexico, to Colorado, and finally to Huntsville, Alabama. This has given me experience with a wide range of approaches to audiology. Dr. Susan Sheehy and Dr. Jan Liles are way ahead of others I’ve worked with. Their competence in and use of the fast-evolving hearing aid technology gives them a broad range of options to chose from. This competence backs up their determination to find the best hearing solution for each patient.”

  • “The audiologists at Alabama Hearing Associates are the most caring and helpful people I have had the privilege of knowing. From the very first day that I stepped into their office, their only concern was to help me. They wanted to be sure that the hearing aids I purchased were the right ones for me and that I would be happy with them. Unlike the previous company I purchased hearing aids from (which I can’t wear because they were not right for me), they did not try to sell me the most expensive aids. Their only concern was for me and my satisfaction with the hearing aids.”

  • “For the past 10 years I have had progressive hearing loss, and have worked with audiologists in Birmingham and Huntsville without success. Then Dr. Jan Liles came into my life and it all changed. She is knowledgeable, professional, caring, and compassionate. Dr. Liles immediately identified my needs and took time to make me a vital part of all decisions regarding the hearing aids that best suited my hearing loss. Dr. Liles has given me the ability to hear and understand what my grandchildren are saying and that is a very special gift! I am indebted to Dr. Liles and Dr. Sheehy for having the foresight to see the need in our community for their professional services.”

  • “I have worn hearing aids since I was nine years old. Until I met Jan and Susan at Alabama Hearing Associates, I had never dealt with such professional, caring, patient, and compassionate people. They have really helped me and I will be forever grateful to them!”

  • “I am extremely happy with the care I have received at Alabama Hearing Associates. I was impressed from the very beginning with the ability of Dr. Liles and Dr. Sheehy to be very professional and yet still relate to me on a personal level. I immediately felt comfortable and confident that I had chosen the right people to meet my hearing needs”