Spring weather means spending more time outdoors, barbecuing with friends, attending concerts and catching up on much-needed yard work. During these spring activities, it’s important to take measures to keep your ears safe. Below we review what causes hearing damage and provide three tips for protecting your ears this spring.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Within the ears are tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that is interpreted by the brain as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy these cells, and the result is noise-induced hearing loss.
The volume of sounds is measured in decibels (dB). Any sound over 85 dB can cause permanent damage to your hearing over time. For reference, this is about the volume of passing highway traffic, which causes damage after about eight hours of exposure. The louder the sound, the quicker the damage.
Three Tips for Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
1. Wear Earplugs
When participating in noisy springtime activities, it’s important to wear earplugs. The volume of a leaf blower ranges from 95 to 115 dB to the operator, while a live concert at The Hollywood Bowl can exceed 120 dB – both of which are loud enough to cause permanent damage instantaneously.
The House Institute Hearing Health Centers offers custom-molded earplugs for maximum comfort and protection, including plugs designed specifically for concerts, which allow a safe amount of sound through without sacrificing music quality.
2. Take Breaks
Whether you’re listening to music or running the lawnmower, it’s important to give your ears a break. Your ears aren’t just damaged by the amount of volume you’re exposed to, but how long you’re exposed to it.
3. Keep Some Distance
If you’re helping with yard work and not operating a power tool, you’re still at risk from others nearby who are. Be sure to keep as much distance between you and the noise source as possible. Keep this tip in mind as we move into summer months and start thinking about firework shows. For more information about protecting your hearing or to schedule an appointment with an expert, call The House Institute Hearing Health Centers today.