Summer is starting to wane, but there’s still plenty of time to think about the level of noises your ears are exposed to during these months, and to consider prevention strategies to protect your hearing.
Even though protecting one’s ears from dangerous sounds is of year-round importance, the different noises that ride the warmer waves of summer can mean exposure to sound sources that can be risky for hearing health.
Ball State University audiologist Lynn Bielski said loud noises in construction zones, fireworks displays or concerts — any sounds louder than 80 decibels — could cause permanent damage.
“Noise created by fireworks, traffic, concerts, and landscaping equipment ranges between 90 and 140 decibels,” Bielski said.
Children could also be at risk of exposure to some of these sounds. Parents can help prevent young ones’ exposure to dangerous noise levels with ear plugs or earmuffs.
“Similar to wearing a helmet when riding a bike, or a seat belt in a vehicle, hearing protection is critical safety equipment when going to a concert, a fireworks display or an auto race,” Bielski said in a news release.
Signs of hazardous noise exposure
If your hearing seems muffled after an exposure or if there’s ringing in your ears that subsides within a few hours, Bielski said some research reveals there could already be irreversible, but not immediately noticeable damage — something called “hidden hearing loss.”
Other signs that you’ve been exposed to dangerous noise levels can include hearing muffled-sounding speech from those around you, ringing or pain in the ears right after the loud noise exposure, or people having to raise their voices for you to understand them.