Summer is a time of relaxation and repose as warmer weather, vacations, and activities beckon many out-of-doors. Unfortunately, as many hearing care practitioners are all too aware of, the arrival of summer also means that the noise level gets turned up a notch. Activities such as fireworks, loud concerts/music festivals, and motorized sports are fun. However, overdoing it causes “temporary” hearing loss and ringing of the ears, which can eventually lead to permanent hearing loss. Sounds at or exceeding 85 dBA are harmful over a prolonged period of time.
Despite the tendency to relax your vigilance during the laid-back months of the year, it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your family from hearing loss. Rather than avoid your favorite summer activities, plan ahead, and make sure you know where the loudest noises will be. Be prepared to incorporate preventative strategies to preserve everyone’s hearing.
The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) composed a list of “6 Easy Hacks to Safeguard Your Hearing This Summer.” In this article, we’ll share the highlights, edited and adapted from the BHI website.
Tips For Keeping Hearing Intact
- Turn Down the Volume – As evidenced by the blaring, and often competing, music that can be heard emanating from people’s headphones on public transportation, many have the volume turned up too loud. It’s not only important to turn down the volume on personal music devices. Limit the time you spend using earphones and earbuds, which deliver noise directly into your ear.
- Walk Away and Plug Your Ears – This is a quick and easy way to distance yourself from loud noise and reduces the decibels that you’re exposing your ears to. Besides, who wants to subject their eardrums to what is essentially noise pollution?
- Use Caution During Fireworks Celebrations – We get it: fireworks are cool! However, a single bang from a firecracker, if at a close enough range, could damage your hearing permanently. Make sure that you and your family are a safe distance away from where fireworks are being set off. You can still watch the explosions of color and light from afar. (and isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?) Better yet, wearing earplugs for the duration of the show will further ensure that your eardrums are safely protected.
- Use Earplugs – Earplugs are an easy and affordable to way to protect your hearing. Inexpensive foam and silicone pairs can be purchased at your local drugstore. You’ll still be able to hear conversations and music while wearing earplugs, and keep the loud noises out.
- Limit Your Time in Noisy Environments – It seems obvious, but many forget that they can simply walk away when the noise becomes unbearable. Utilizing ear protection as well as setting a time limit on loud situations thwarts potential damage to your ears.
- Visit Your Hearing Care Professional – A hearing doctor will administer a baseline test to see if you have hearing loss. They will also recommend a treatment plan if hearing loss is detected. Online tests like the BHI Hearing Check, accessed here at http://www.betterhearing.org/check-your-hearing, will help determine if you could potentially have a hearing issue that needs to be addressed.
Be Smart About Protecting Your Hearing
It’s easy to ignore the problem, but hearing loss will only worsen if left untreated. For patients concerned about the cost of financing a hearing care treatment plan, CareCredit helps by breaking down the costs into easy, monthly installments.
Now go out and enjoy the summer (it’ll be gone before you know it)!