Avoiding Noise-Related Hearing Loss

Man with weedwacker wearing hearing protection cutting the grass

The typical summer day is usually filled with fun experiences and happenings, from motorcycle rides to family outings to fireworks to sporting events. The majority of these activities are perfectly safe and healthy, but some do come with a risk of noise-related hearing loss. That’s because loud noises, over time, can damage your ability to hear. A loud motorcycle engine or a roaring crowd could be contributing to long-term, noise-induced hearing loss.

What is noise-induced hearing loss? This condition happens when extremely loud noises, over time, cause damage to your hearing. The result of this exposure is loss of hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is effectively irreversible.

There is no cure, but this form of hearing loss can be successfully managed. Increasing your awareness of these common loud noises can help you better manage risks and formulate prevention strategies, so you can protect your hearing over the long run. With a few basic adjustments, you can enjoy your summer fun and protect your hearing health.

Is summer actually that noisy?

It can be very easy to miss noise hazards during the summer months. Here are some of the most prevalent and also most dangerous:

  • Loud concerts: Even outside concerts present considerable risks to your hearing health. These events are, after all, meant to be quite loud.
  • Sporting events: Crowd noise can damage your hearing, particularly at events like auto racing or monster truck rallies.
  • Fireworks events: Summer is full of fireworks. From neighborhood parties to holiday festivities to sporting events, fireworks displays are everywhere during the summer months. Regrettably, fireworks are incredibly loud and can certainly cause damage to your hearing.
  • Routine lawn care: Included in this category are chainsaws, weed wackers, leaf blowers, and lawnmowers. These tools have really loud powerful motors. It’s worth noting that totally electric motors are usually quieter.
  • Routine use of power tools: Home improvement projects are great activities during the summer. But it’s important to remember that all of those power tools can be really noisy. Your hearing health is in increasing danger the more you use these tools.
  • Driving: If you’re driving with the windows down, the wind noise can reach harmful volumes in your ears and this is even more pertinent if you drive a convertible. And the risk becomes dramatically worse the longer you are exposed.

In general, sounds above 85dB are considered to be harmful. The average hair dryer, blender, or lawnmower is about this volume. That’s important to be aware of because these sounds may not seem particularly noisy. But that doesn’t mean that such volumes won’t cause damage.

Preventing noise-induced hearing damage

Noise-induced hearing loss impacts millions of individuals every year. And, unlike age-related hearing loss, noise-related hearing loss can occur at any age. Prevention is important for this exact reason. Some of the most reliable prevention strategies include the following:

  • Download a sound level detection app to your phone: 85 dB might not seem like a lot, but you would probably be surprised how fast sounds can escalate above that minimum threshold. At these volume levels, even your headphones or earbuds can quickly begin damaging your ears. There are many reliable apps available for smartphones that can help you track ambient noise levels, so you can be more aware of when your surroundings become harmful to your hearing.
  • Turn down the volume at home: Simply reducing the volume on your TV and music playing devices can help give your ears some quiet and a chance to recover. Damage will develop faster if you’re always listening to your devices at a loud volume.
  • Give your ears a break (and time to recover): Spend a quieter next day after going to a fireworks display. This can give your ears more time to recuperate and avoid further and more significant damage.
  • Wear hearing protection: Keep a pair of ear plugs or ear muffs handy in case you can’t or aren’t willing to avoid specific noisy situations. When you’re in locations that are too loud, use this protection to your advantage. This can help you avoid damage. Custom hearing protection devices personalized to your ears and your hearing can be especially effective.
  • Use disposable earplugs when you have to: Making use of disposable earplugs may not be as effective as customized earplugs but, in a pinch, they’re better than no protection at all. An inexpensive set of disposable earplugs can help prevent considerable damage if you find yourself in a noisy environment all of a sudden.
  • Get your hearing checked: Hearing loss typically doesn’t develop suddenly. Many individuals won’t notice the symptoms for months or years. Getting your hearing checked can help you identify whether you have noise-induced hearing loss. We’ll be able to talk about how to counter further damage, which treatment solutions might be appropriate, and how to keep your hearing as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
  • Limit your time in noisy environments: The more noisy the environment, the more you should regulate your time. Your ears can be protected from long-term damage in this way. Every thirty minutes or so, when you’re at a loud sporting event, for instance, go and spend some time in a less noisy area.

You don’t need to resign yourself to having noise-related hearing loss. Prevention strategies can help maintain your hearing. You can safeguard your hearing and enjoy fun activities in any season with the proper strategy.

Begin your journey towards better hearing by contacting us for an appointment.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.