With Memorial Day right around the counter, the unofficial start to summer is almost here. With that comes vacations, trips to the beach and backyard barbeques. But summer activities can also leave you exposed to particularly high decibel levels, which can permanently harm your hearing.
Your Los Angeles audiologist is here to help you enjoy the season by taking the proper precautions to protect yourself.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
When you are exposed to loud sounds, such as lawn mowers, power tools, motorized vehicles, sporting events, concerts and fireworks, you can cause irreversible harm to your hearing.
Every sound is measured in decibels (dB). Listening to anything over 85 dB (heavy LA city traffic) can cause damage after eight hours. Listening to anything over 100 dB (motorcycle) can cause damage within 15 minutes. Listening to anything over 120 dB (jackhammer) can cause damage immediately.
The following tips are recommended by your Los Angeles audiologist and the Better Hearing Institute, an organization devoted to educating the public about proper hearing health, and helping those with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment.
The best way to treat hearing loss is to prevent it from happening in the first place. When you are going somewhere, say an outdoor music festival or sporting event, where you know sounds will reach more than 100 dB, it is important to protect your hearing.
Disposable earplugs made of foam or silicone are readily available in most LA pharmacies; they allow you to hear music and conversations while blocking dangerously loud sounds. If you find yourself frequently attending these events, it may be beneficial to invest in custom ear protection. These earplugs are made from a mold of your ear to ensure the best fit and protection.
Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals.
There are firework professionals for a reason – setting them off is extremely dangerous. They can damage more than just your hearing (as they are basically a well-planned explosion).
The bang from a single firecracker at close range can cause immediate and permanent hearing damage. When watching fireworks, enjoy them from a distance. Earplugs will provide an extra level of hearing protection without detracting from the festivities.
Protect Yourself from Swimmer’s Ear.
A dip in a pool, lake, pond or ocean can’t be beat, especially on a hot day. If bacteria in the water enters your ear, it can cause an infection known as swimmer’s ear.
To protect against this, you should dry your ears thoroughly after swimming and tilt your head to ensure all the water from your ear canals drips out. You should also invest in a pair of swimmer’s plugs.
Contact your Los Angeles audiologist to learn more ways to protect your hearing this summer.