With the start of school right around the corner, many of us are trying to squeeze as much fun as possible out of summer time with our children and grandchildren. While all of that fun is great for making memories, it can be hard on your hearing. It’s important to protect your hearing during recreational activities so that you can enjoy it as long as possible.
According to the World Health Organization, over 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults from the ages of 12 to 35 years old are at risk of hearing loss due to damaging levels of noise and the use of personal audio devices. Exposure to sounds over 85 dB not only damage hearing, but can also cause tinnitus. The good news is that you can protect your hearing during recreational activities with just a few simple steps.
Before we jump into protecting your hearing during recreational activities, let’s first look at how noise levels affect our hearing. When sound waves enter the ear, the delicate hair cells in our inner ear vibrate. These vibrations are then sent to the brain and processed as sound. With everyday sounds, these organs work smoothly. But, extremely loud noises (or prolonged exposure to loud noises) can damage the delicate hair cells inside the ear. This results in hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
It is recommended that the ear is not exposed to sounds over 85 dB for longer than eight hours. Both sudden instances of very loud noise, or prolonged exposure to higher decibels of sounds can result in damage to the sense of hearing. Many popular forms of recreation can be damaging to the health of hearing: evening concerts, all-terrain vehicles, yard work,and even swimming can affect hearing health. If you have any pain after leaving a noisy area, or have a ringing or buzzing in your ears after being around any sort of noise, please talk to us right away!
The good news is that there are many ways to protect your ears from suffering any damage to your sense of hearing. A few simple precautions will help protect your hearing during recreational activities.
6 Easy Ways to Protect Your Hearing During Recreational Activities
1. Use earplugs.
Earplugs are a great to protect your hearing during recreational activities. You can find inexpensive earplugs at almost any pharmacy, or you can contact us for recommendations on a customized pair. Earplugs help protect the delicate hair cells of the inner ear, while still allowing you to hear what is going on around you. Whether you are listening to a concert or riding dirt bikes with the grandkids, it’s important to protect your hearing.
2. Limit time in noisy environments.
Even while wearing ear plugs, it is good practice to limit time spent at noisy activities. If you are doing yard work or another activity that exceeds 100 dB, be sure to wear earplugs and keep your time to that activity to less than an hour or two.
3. Listen to audio devices responsibly.
The headphones attached to most personal audio devices are designed to rest inside the ear. This position makes it easy for sound to damage the hair cells of the ear very easily. If you cannot hear normal conversation happening right next to you, the volume is too loud. It is also a worth investment to purchase a pair of headphones that go over the ears.
4. Schedule annual hearing exams.
We understand that this is something that gets repeated quite often, but it’s because we believe that it is so important to stay aware of your hearing health. A thorough hearing exam every year will help you best know the state of your hearing and what actions you need to take to care for it.
5. Wear ear plugs while swimming.
Because we have the advantage of living in a very warm climate, we’re able to enjoy water activities longer than many other regions. After enjoying a dip in the pool, make sure your ears are clean and dry. Prolonged infection or swimmer’s ear can affect your hearing as well.
6. Walk away and plug your ears.
When all else fails, and you find yourself in a noisy environment without headphones, plug your ears and walk away. The longer you stand next to loud music, noisy vehicles, or shotguns without adequate protection, the more likely you are to damage your hearing.
Protecting your hearing during recreational activities is a simple thing that will allow you to reap the benefits of healthy hearing. If you have any questions about how we can help you protect your hearing, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Dr. Hubik received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Born and raised in this area, Dr. Hubik grew up in Anton, Texas and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. Dr. Hubik opened Cornerstone Audiology in March of 2007. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of this community.