Some activities are simply staples of summer: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. The crowds, and the decibel levels, are growing as more of these events are getting back to normal.
But sometimes this can bring about problems. Let’s face it: you’ve had ringing in your ears after going to a concert before. This ringing, known as tinnitus, can be an indication that you’ve sustained hearing damage. And the more damage you do, the more your hearing will diminish.
But it’s ok. If you use reliable hearing protection, all of these summer activities can be safely enjoyed.
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 concert or air show?
Because you’ll be rather distracted, naturally.
You should watch out for the following symptoms if you want to prevent severe damage:
- Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It’s a sign that damage is taking place. You shouldn’t automatically ignore tinnitus just because it’s a fairly common condition.
- Headache: If you’re experiencing a headache, something is probably not right. And when you’re attempting to gauge hearing damage this is even more relevant. A pounding headache can be caused by overly loud volume. If you find yourself in this situation, seek a less noisy setting.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is generally responsible for your ability to remain balanced. So if you feel dizzy at one of these loud events, especially if that dizziness coincides with a charge of volume, this is another indication that damage has taken place.
Needless to say, this list isn’t complete. There are little hairs in your ears which are responsible for detecting vibrations in the air and overly loud sounds can harm these hairs. And once these tiny hairs are damaged, they never heal or grow back. They’re that specialized and that delicate.
And the phrase “ow, my little ear hairs hurt” isn’t something you ever hear people say. So watching for secondary symptoms will be the only way you can know if you’re developing hearing loss.
It’s also possible for damage to happen with no symptoms at all. Damage will take place whenever you’re exposed to overly loud noise. The longer you’re exposed, the more significant the damage will become.
When you do notice symptoms, what should I do?
You’re getting your best groove on (and everyone is digging it), but then, you begin to feel dizzy and your ears start to ring. What should you do? How many decibels is too loud? Are you hanging too close to the speakers? (How loud is 100 decibels, anyhow?)
Well, you’ve got several options, and they vary with regards to how effective they’ll be:
- You can go someplace less noisy: Truthfully, this is most likely your best possible option if you’re looking to protect your hearing health. But it may also finish 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.
- Check the merch booth: Some venues will sell disposable earplugs. So if you can’t find anything else, it’s worth trying the merch booth or vendor area. Typically, you won’t have to pay more than a few bucks, and with regards to the health of your hearing, that’s a bargain!
- Use anything to block your ears: The goal is to safeguard your ears when things are too loud. Try to use something around you to cover your ears if you don’t have earplugs and the high volume suddenly takes you by surprise. Although it won’t be as effective as approved hearing protection, something is better than nothing.
- Bring cheap earplugs around with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. They aren’t the ideal hearing protection, but they’re relatively effective for what they are. So there’s no reason not to have a pair in your glove box, purse, or wherever. This way, if things get a little too loud, you can simply pop in these puppies.
- Put some distance between you and the source of noise: If you experience any pain in your ears, back away from the speakers. In other words, try getting away from the origin of the noise. Maybe that means letting go of your front row seats at NASCAR, but you can still enjoy the show and give your ears a necessary respite.
Are there better hearing protection methods?
So when you need to protect your ears for a short time at a concert, disposable earplugs will be fine. But it’s a little different when you’re a music-lover, and you go to concerts every night, or you have season tickets to NASCAR or football games, or you work in your garage every evening repairing an old Corvette with loud power tools.
In these situations, you will want to take a few more profound steps to safeguard your hearing. Here are a few steps in that direction:
- Professional or prescription level hearing protection is recommended This might mean over-the-ear headphones, but more likely, it will mean custom fitted earplugs. The better the fit, the better the hearing protection. When you need them, you will have them with you and you can simply put them in.
- Speak with us today: We can do a hearing test so that you’ll know where your hearing levels currently are. And it will be much easier to identify and note any damage after a baseline is established. Plus, we’ll have a lot of personalized tips for you, all tailored to protect your ears.
- Use a volume monitoring app: Ambient noise is usually monitored by your smartphone automatically, but you can also download an app that can do that. These apps will then warn you when the noise becomes dangerously loud. In order to protect your ears, keep an eye on your decibel monitor on your phone. Using this method, the precise volume level that will harm your ears will be obvious.
Have your cake and hear it, too
Okay, it’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but the point stands: you can safeguard your hearing and enjoy all these fabulous outdoor summer activities. You will enjoy those activities safely by taking a few simple steps. And that’s true with everything, even your 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 as the years go on. If you’re not sensible now you could end up losing your hearing and also your summer fun.