Some activities are simply staples of summer: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. The crowds, and the decibel levels, are getting larger 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 attending a concert before. That ringing is often called tinnitus, and it could be an indication of something bad: hearing damage. And the more damage you do, the more your hearing will decline.
But it’s ok. With the correct hearing protection, you’ll be able to enjoy those summer activities (even NASCAR) without doing long-term damage to your ears.
How can you know if your hearing is taking a beating?
So how much attention should you be putting on your ears when you’re at that air show or concert?
Because you’ll be fairly distracted, understandably.
You should watch out for the following symptoms if you want to avoid serious damage:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is generally responsible for your ability to keep yourself balanced. So if you feel dizzy at one of these loud events, especially if that dizziness coincides with a rush of volume, this is another indication that damage has happened.
- Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It means your ears are taking damage. You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss tinnitus just because it’s a relatively common condition.
- Headache: If you have a headache, something is probably not right. This is definitely true when you’re attempting to gauge damage to your hearing, too. A pounding headache can be caused by excessively loud volume. And that’s a strong indication that you should find a quieter setting.
Needless to say, this list isn’t exhaustive. Loud noise causes hearing loss because the extra loud decibel levels harm the tiny hairs in your ear responsible for sensing vibrations in the air. And once an injury to these delicate hairs occurs, they will never heal. That’s how fragile and specialized they are.
And the phrase “ow, my little ear hairs hurt” isn’t something you ever hear people say. So looking out for secondary signs will be the only way you can know if you’re developing hearing loss.
You also may be developing hearing loss with no apparent symptoms. Damage will happen anytime you’re exposed to overly loud noise. And the damage will get worse the longer the exposure continues.
When you do notice symptoms, what should I do?
You’re getting your best groove on (and everyone is loving it), but then, you begin to feel dizzy and your ears start to ring. How loud is too loud and what should you do? And are you in a dangerous spot? (How loud is 100 decibels, anyhow?)
Here are a few options that have different degrees of effectiveness:
- Keep a set of cheap earplugs with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. For what they are, they’re relatively effective and are better than nothing. So there’s no reason not to have a pair in your glove compartment, purse, or wherever else. That way, if things get a little too loud, you can simply pop in these puppies.
- Try distancing yourself from the source of the noise: If you detect any pain in your ears, back away from the speakers. To put it bluntly, move further away from the origin of the noise. You can give your ears a break while still having fun, but you may have to give up your front row NASCAR seats.
- Use anything to block your ears: When things get noisy, the objective is to safeguard your ears. Try using something around you to cover your ears if you don’t have earplugs and the high volume abruptly takes you by surprise. Even though it won’t be as effective as approved hearing protection, something is better than nothing.
- You can go somewhere quieter: If you really want to safeguard your ears, this is truthfully your best solution. But it may also put an end to your fun. It would be understandable if you’d rather stay and enjoy the concert utilizing a different way to protect your hearing. But you should still consider leaving if your symptoms become significant.
- Find the merch booth: Some venues will sell disposable earplugs. So if you don’t have anything else, it’s worth checking out the merch booth or vendor area. Your hearing health is important so the few dollars you pay will be well worth it.
Are there any other methods that are more effective?
So when you need to safeguard your ears for a short time period at a concert, disposable earplugs will do. But it’s a bit different when you’re a music-lover, and you go to concerts nightly, or you have season tickets to NASCAR or football games, or you work in your garage every evening repairing an old Corvette with noisy power tools.
You will want to use a little more advanced methods in these situations. Here are a few steps in that direction:
- Get an app that monitors volume levels: Ambient noise is usually monitored by your smartphone automatically, but you can also download 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 capable of easily seeing what decibel level is loud enough to harm your ears.
- Wear 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. You can always take these with you and put them in when you need them.
- Speak with us today: You need to identify where your present hearing levels are, so come in and let us help. And when you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to detect and note any damage. Plus, we’ll have a lot of personalized tips for you, all designed to protect your ears.
Have your cake and hear it, too
Alright, it’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but the point stands: you can protect your hearing and enjoy all these wonderful outdoor summer activities. You will enjoy those activities safely by taking a few simple steps. You need to take these measures even with headphones. You will be able to make better hearing decisions when you know how loud is too loud for headphones.
Because if you really enjoy going to see a NASCAR race or an airshow or an outdoor summer concert, chances are, you’re going to want to keep doing that in the future. If you’re not sensible now you could end up losing your hearing and also your summer fun.