Summer is now in full swing. This means that like many of us, you are spending your time with friends and family down at Town Centre Park or gathering around the grill to line up for a hot dog. Summer also means that now more than ever you are at risk of ear damage caused by exposure to loud sounds. Read more to learn how you can protect yourself.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Exposure to loud noises, known as noise-induced hearing loss, is the second most common cause of hearing loss. Sounds are measured in decibels (dB); anything more than 85 dB can cause damage to the delicate hair cells within the inner ear.
In order to know which sounds are too loud, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) put together this chart of average decibels ratings of some familiar sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB.
- Movie theater: 74-104 dB.
- Dirt bikes: 80-110 dB.
- Sporting events: 94-110 dB.
- Sirens: 110-129 dB.
- Fireworks: 140-160 dB.
Wear Hearing Protection
Avoiding anything measuring more then 85 dB is the best way to prevent damage caused by loud noise. Unfortunately, this plan is not always realistic. If you do need to attend an event or find yourself in a situation where you cannot avoid loud noises, wearing hearing protection is the next best thing.
Disposable earplugs from your local pharmacy work in a pinch, while custom-made earplugs created from a mold taken of your ear offer superior fit and protection. Noise-canceling headphones and earmuffs can also help provide protection.
Take a Listening Break
If you must be around loud sounds, you should give your ears a break every 60 minutes. Standing in a quiet area for a few minutes away from the dangerously loud sounds can give your ears a chance to recover.
Keep Your Distance
When out at an event or watching a firework show, try to position yourself as far away as possible from the speakers or sound source. Standing at least 500 feet back can help you limit your exposure while still allowing you to take in the show.
To learn more about how to enjoy your favorite summertime activities while still protecting your hearing, schedule an appointment with an expert today at The Audiology Offices.