Loud Summer Activities Call For Ear Protection

Large summer concert crowd of people in front of a stage at night who should be concerned about hearing protection

Some activities are just staples of summer: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. The crowds, and the noise levels, are growing as more of these activities are going back to normal.

But sometimes this can bring about problems. Let’s face it: you’ve had ringing in your ears after going to a concert before. That ringing is something called tinnitus, and it could be a sign of something bad: hearing damage. And the more damage you experience, the more your hearing will diminish.

But it’s ok. With the proper hearing protection, you’ll be able to enjoy those summer activities (even NASCAR) without doing permanent damage to your ears.

How to know your hearing is hurting

So how much attention should you be putting on your ears when you’re at that concert or air show?
Because you’ll be pretty distracted, naturally.

Well, if you want to stop severe injury, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Headache: If you’re experiencing a headache, something is probably not right. And when you’re trying to gauge hearing damage this is even more relevant. A pounding headache can be triggered by excessively loud volume. And that’s a good indication that you should find a quieter setting.
  • Dizziness: Your inner ear is largely responsible for your ability to keep yourself balanced. Dizziness is another indication that damage has taken place, particularly if it’s accompanied by a spike in volume. So if you’re at one of these noisy events and you feel dizzy you may have damaged your ears.
  • Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It means your ears are taking damage. You shouldn’t necessarily ignore tinnitus just because it’s a relatively common condition.

This list is not complete, of course. There are tiny hairs inside of your ears which are responsible for picking up vibrations in the air and overly loud noises can damage these hairs. And when an injury to these tiny hairs occurs, there’s no way for them to heal. They’re that specialized and that delicate.

And it’s not like you’ve ever heard anyone say, “Ow, the tiny hairs in my ear hurt”. So looking out for secondary symptoms will be the only way you can detect if you’re developing hearing loss.

It’s also possible for damage to happen with no symptoms whatsoever. Damage will happen anytime you’re exposed to overly loud noise. The longer you’re exposed, the more severe the damage will become.

When you do notice symptoms, what should I do?

You’re rocking out just awesomely (everyone sees and is immediately entertained by how hard you rock, you’re the life of the party) when your ears begin to ring, and you feel a little dizzy. What should you do? How loud is too loud? Are you standing too close to the speakers? How are you supposed to know how loud 100 decibels is?

Here are some options that have various levels of effectiveness:

  • Block your ears with, well, anything: When things get loud, the goal is to safeguard your ears. So if you don’t have any earplugs and the volume levels have caught you by surprise, think about using anything you can find to cover and protect your ears. Even though it won’t be as effective as approved hearing protection, something is better than nothing.
  • Find the merch booth: Some venues sell disposable earplugs. Check out the merch booth for earplugs if you don’t have anything else. Your hearing health is important so the few dollars you pay will be well worth it.
  • Try distancing yourself from the source of the noise: If you detect any pain in your ears, back away from the speakers. In other words, try moving away from the source of the noise. You can give your ears a rest while still having fun, but you might have to let go of your front row NASCAR seats.
  • Keep a set of cheap earplugs with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. They aren’t the best hearing protection in the world, but they’re moderately effective for what they are. So there isn’t any reason not to keep a set in your glove compartment, purse, or wherever. This way, if things get a little too loud, you can just pop in these puppies.
  • You can get out of the venue: If you really want to safeguard your ears, this is honestly your best option. But it may also put an end to your fun. So if your symptoms are severe, consider getting out of there, but we understand if you’d rather pick a way to protect your hearing and enjoy the concert.

Are there any other strategies that are more effective?

So, disposable earplugs will work when you’re mainly interested in safeguarding your hearing for a couple of hours at a show. But if you work in your garage every day fixing your old Chevelle with power tools, or if you have season tickets to your favorite football stadium or NASCAR, or you go to concerts nightly, it’s a little different.

In these cases, you will want to take a few more profound steps to safeguard your hearing. Here are some steps in that direction:

  • Come in and for a consultation: We can do a hearing exam so that you’ll know where your hearing levels currently are. And it will be much easier to detect and record any damage once a baseline is established. You will also get the extra benefit of our individualized advice to help you keep your hearing safe.
  • Use professional or prescription level ear protection. This could include custom earplugs or over-the-ear headphones. The better the fit, the better the hearing protection. When you need them, you will have them with you and you can simply put them in.
  • Use a volume monitoring app: Ambient noise is normally monitored by your smartphone automatically, but you can also get an app that can do that. These apps will then alert you when the noise becomes dangerously loud. In order to protect your ears, keep an eye on your decibel monitor on your phone. This way, you’ll be able to easily see what decibel level is loud enough to harm your ears.

Have your cake and hear it, too

Okay, it’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but the point holds: you can enjoy all those great summer activities while still safeguarding your hearing. You just have to take measures to enjoy these activities safely. You need to take these steps even with headphones. You will be able to make better hearing decisions when you understand how loud is too loud for headphones.

As the years go on, you will most likely want to continue doing all of your favorite outdoor summer activities. Being smart now means you’ll be capable of hearing your favorite band decades from now.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/what_noises_cause_hearing_loss.html
https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/decibel-levels

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.

Questions?

    Hearing Aids By Tricia Leagjeld

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