Summer is made for outdoor adventures, like spending time with family and friends around a campfire or boating on Town Beach at Silver Lake. In addition to the weather being perfect, it is also prime time for damage caused by exposure to loud sounds. Below is a breakdown of what can cause hearing loss and how you can keep your ears safe.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Exposure to loud noises is the second most common cause of hearing loss, known as noise-induced hearing loss. An estimated 12.5% of children aged 6–19 years and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.
Noises are measured in decibels (dB). Anything over 85 dB can cause permanent damage to the delicate hair cells within the inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical impulses, which are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) put together this handy reference list of the average decibel rating of some familiar sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB.
- Movie theater: 74-104 dB.
- Dirt bikes: 80-110 dB.
- Sporting event: 94-110 dB.
- Sirens: 110-129 dB.
- Fireworks: 140-160 dB.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss at Home
Your lawnmower and favorite television show may be putting your hearing at risk. When home, follow these tips to reduce exposure:
- Turn down the volume of your TV.
- Take listening breaks when playing music through headphones.
- Invest in quieter products and appliances.
- Wear hearing protection.
- Store earplugs in easy-to-grab locations.
How to Prevent Hearing Loss at Public Events
Summers are full of concerts on the lawn and large sporting events that go well into the night. In order to participate in these fun activities while still keeping your ears safe, follow these tips:
- Position yourself away from sound-producing sources, such as loudspeakers.
- Reduce the amount of time you are exposed to loud sounds.
- Wear hearing protection when watching firework displays.
- Keep hearing protection in your car, purse and backpack for easy access.
To learn more about keeping your ears safe or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Wilmington Audiology today.