Avoiding Noise-Related Hearing Loss

Man with weedwacker wearing hearing protection cutting the grass

The typical summer day is likely filled with fun experiences and happenings, from motorcycle rides to family reunions to fireworks to sporting events. And while the majority of these activities are healthy, many can present hidden risks to your hearing health. That’s because loud noises, over time, can harm your ability to hear. This hearing damage could be the result of anything from a roaring motorcycle engine to the booms of a fireworks display.

What is noise-induced hearing loss? This condition occurs when excessively loud noises, over time, trigger damage to your hearing. The consequence of this exposure is loss of hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is effectively irreversible.

Even though this type of hearing loss has no cure, it can be effectively managed. Increasing your awareness of these prevalent loud noises can help you better manage risks and formulate prevention strategies, so you can protect your hearing over the long run. You can protect the health of your hearing while still enjoying summer fun by making use of a few basic adjustments.

Is it actually that loud during the summer?

It can be very easy to overlook noise hazards during the summer months. Some of the most prevalent hazardously loud noises include the following:

  • Routine lawn care: Included in this category are chainsaws, weed wackers, leaf blowers, and lawnmowers. These tools have very loud powerful motors. Motors that run on electricity rather than gas are typically quite a bit quieter, though.
  • Loud concerts: Even outside concerts present considerable risks to your hearing health. These events are, after all, intended to be quite loud.
  • Routine use of power tools: Home improvement projects are ideal activities during the summer. But power tools, in general, tend to be really loud. The more you utilize these tools, the more your hearing risk increases.
  • Driving: If you’re driving with the windows down, the wind noise can reach hazardous 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.
  • Fireworks events: Summer is full of fireworks. From neighborhood gatherings to holiday celebrations to sporting events, fireworks displays are everywhere during the summer months. But fireworks shows are definitely loud enough to trigger irreversible hearing damage.
  • Sporting events: Any time you’re around noisy crowds, you could increase your risk of noise damage (this can be even more prevalent at sporting events that feature motorized attractions, such as a Nascar race or monster truck rally).

The volume level that’s considered to be where damage starts to occur is around 85 dB. This is about the range of a lawnmower, hair dryer, or a typical blender. That’s important to take note of because these sounds may not seem particularly noisy. But the volume of these devices can result in hearing damage over time.

How can I prevent noise-related hearing loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss effects millions of people every year. And, unlike age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss can present at any age. That’s why prevention is so important. Here are some of the most practical prevention strategies:

  • Turn down the volume at home: Your ears can get a rest by simply decreasing the volume on your devices. When everything is loud all the time, damage can progress more quickly.
  • Use disposable earplugs when you have to: Using disposable earplugs may not be as effective as customized earplugs but, in a pinch, they’re better than no protection at all. An inexpensive pair of disposable earplugs can help prevent considerable damage if you find yourself in a loud setting all of a sudden.
  • Give your ears a break (and time to recover): If you went to a loud fireworks display, make sure your next day is a quiet one. Additional and more substantial damage can be prevented by giving your ears a chance to rest and recuperate.
  • Wear hearing protection: If you cannot avoid loud situations (or don’t want to miss out on particular enjoyable activities), you can get a pair of good ear muffs or ear plugs. Wear this hearing protection when you need to, when you are in situations that are loud. Damage can be avoided in this way. Custom hearing protection devices personalized to your ears and your hearing can be especially effective.
  • Download a sound level detection app to your phone: 85 dB may not seem like a lot, but you would most likely be surprised how fast sounds can escalate above that minimum threshold. At these volume levels, even your headphones or earbuds can quickly start damaging your hearing. There are numerous reliable apps available for smartphones that can help you track ambient noise levels, so you can be more aware of when your surroundings become dangerous to your hearing.
  • Get your hearing checked: Hearing loss usually doesn’t develop suddenly. It could take years to detect in many circumstances. Having your hearing checked can help you identify whether you have noise-related hearing loss. We’ll be able to go over how to avoid additional damage, which treatment solutions may be appropriate, and how to keep your hearing as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
  • Limit your time in noisy environments: If your environment is really loud, you should limit your exposure time. This can help protect against long-term damage to your ears. If you’re at a loud sporting event, for example, go to a quieter area every thirty minutes or so.

Noise-related hearing loss isn’t unavoidable. You’re hearing can be maintained by using prevention strategies. You can safeguard your hearing and enjoy fun activities in any season with the correct approach.

Begin your journey towards better hearing by giving us a call 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.