Summer is typically a season of fun and outdoor exuberance. But there are hazards in the summer sun, including hearing hazards. Here are seven summer activities that can cause damage to your hearing. Be aware and avoid their dangers.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day in the U.S., fireworks light up the summer sky. Most fireworks have sound as high as 125 decibels, which is loud enough to damage your hearing. In addition to wearing earplugs yourself, protect your child’s hearing. The noise levels of fireworks displays can them unsafe for babies and toddlers, but if you must bring them to a fireworks show, cover their ears with inexpensive lightweight foam-filled ear cups. For older children, use earplugs.
Putting the top down and taking the convertible out for a summer ride is classic fun. But the roaring of the engine, the noise of other vehicles, and the rushing wind can put a damper on your drive when you find yourself experiencing tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) or other symptoms of hearing damage. It’s not safe to wear earplugs while driving, so roll the windows up to reduce some of the noise, and wear a hat or head covering that shields the ears.
With summer weather here, those who enjoy target shooting will partake in their favorite sport. It’s estimated that as many as 40 million Americans enjoy target shooting each year. Nearly all firearms create noise above 140 dB, enough to cause immediate hearing damage, and even the smaller caliber firearms are above 120 dB. Always wear your earplugs when shooting, and if possible, double up and wear earmuffs as well.
In the United States, baseball is a time-honored summer tradition. In an effort to pump up the excitement, stadiums venues are louder than ever. In addition to crowd noise, mega-speakers blasting music and fireworks celebrating home runs can make watching the game a deafening experience. A recent University of Michigan study found decibel levels of major league baseball games averaged 94 decibels, but could get as high as 114 dB. At 94 dB, anything more than 30 minutes of exposure puts you at risk of damaging your hearing. Wearing earplugs can reduce the risk of hearing damage.
You might not think of a parade as being a risk to hearing, but infants and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to the noise. Parades are a favorite summertime activity for families, but the shorter ear canals of very young children can make parade noise a significant danger to a child’s hearing. Protect your little ones from all of the marching bands, sirens, and loud vehicles with simple foam-filled ear cups. And you should protect your ears with a pair of earplugs, too.
Most equipment used for yard work measures between 80 dB and 105 dB and has the potential to damage hearing. Proper precautions can help you protect your hearing while maintaining your yard this summer. Electric equipment is quieter than gas-powered, and proper maintenance of equipment can reduce the noise level. Always wear earplugs when operating lawn equipment such as hedge trimmers, lawn mowers, or leaf blowers.
The clear skies and comfortable temperatures of summer can create a perfect framework for the excitement of an airshow. But being close to the aerial action can be dangerous for your hearing, as well as that of your kids.
Though the aerial stunts can be breathtaking, the noise of the jet engines quickly becomes ear-splitting when pilots venture close to the ground. Young children especially are vulnerable to hearing damage since shorter ear canals cause the sound pressure entering the ear to be greater. Remember to bring ear protection for the entire family, in addition to sunscreen, water and comfy chairs.
Enjoy all that summer has to offer this year, but protect your hearing at the same time. If you are experiencing ringing or buzzing, be sure to contact Dr. Dena Riso immediately.