Congratulations! You survived another winter (although it was a mild one) and a mercurial spring and made it to the summer. You’re probably looking forward to getting outside and enjoying the nice weather. It’s the season of parties, holidays, celebrations, patios, festivals, and… loud noises.
While you’re out there soaking up the sun, be cognizant of the dangers your ears face. Any noise over 85 decibels is considered a dangerous level for your ears, and summer fun is filled with them. Here are just a few common culprits:
As mentioned above, water can cause ear issues separate from noise. Water trapped in the ear can increase pressure, cause tinnitus, vertigo, nausea, and even vomiting. Typically, water will naturally clear over a couple hours of discomfort, but if water becomes trapped behind the eardrum it can lead to pain and infection. In such cases, see a physician immediately. Wearing earplugs while swimming can protect you from swimmer’s ear, and is an especially good idea for children or individuals who are prone to it.
As the 4th of July approaches, be especially careful of fireworks. A single bang of a firecracker at close range can cause permanent hearing loss instantaneously. So enjoy your day of grilling and yard games, but when it comes to fireworks remember to be extra careful.
Of course, a lot of these things are what make summer so special. While you don’t have to give up any activity that involves a loud noise, taking steps to protect your ears can go a long ways in preventing irreversible hearing loss.
Impaired hearing caused by excessive exposure to loud noise is preventable. These threats aren’t like the degenerative hearing loss associated with old age. By taking appropriate precautions and safeguarding your ears, you can prevent hearing loss that would negatively impact your ability to fully enjoy your summers for years to come.
While noise is a fact of summer, you don’t always need to put yourself in the noisiest environments. Stay away from the loudest areas of gatherings, choose outdoor activities when possible (they distribute noise more), and take occasional breaks from the loud atmosphere.
You may not like the idea of carrying earplugs with you everywhere, but they are tiny, inexpensive devices that can make a world of difference. Putting them in for activities such as yard work are a no-brainer, and it’s a good idea to use them at especially loud concerts or events as well.
Whether it’s fireworks on the 4th of July, guns, or something else capable of producing loud bangs, it’s best to distance yourself as much as possible. The panoramic view of fireworks is nicer anyways. Just keep your distance, consider using ear plugs, and move away if things are getting too loud.
From blasting your car stereo to having your iPod blaring in your ears, music and other controlled volume settings should be turned down. Some 80% of individuals listen to music at dangerous levels. Take a hard look at how loud your music needs to be during that morning jog or commute, and turn it down if you can enjoy it at a more comfortable volume.
If you are in a loud environment, leave before you start to feel serious discomfort. Ignoring signs can be dangerous for hearing problems (or any other medical issue for that matter). Move away from persistent loud noises, or get some air if your ears are becoming sensitive.
Summer is a great time of year in western New York, full of great activities that you’d hate to miss out on. However, be smart when enjoying the good weather. Take appropriate precautions, be smart about noise exposure, and wear earplugs around especially noisy environments.
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