Summertime has some activities that are simply staples: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. The crowds, and the noise levels, are getting larger as more of these activities are going back to normal.
And that can be a problem. Because let’s be honest: this isn’t the first loud concert that’s caused your ears to ring. That ringing is often called tinnitus, and it could be a sign of something bad: hearing damage. And the more damage you do, the more your hearing will decline.
But don’t worry. If you use reliable hearing protection, all of these summer activities can be safely enjoyed.
How to know your hearing is suffering
So, you’re at the air show or enjoying an amazing concert, how much attention should you be paying to your ears?
Because you’ll be pretty distracted, naturally.
Well, if you want to avoid severe injury, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Dizziness: Your sense of balance is generally controlled by your inner ear. So if you’re feeling dizzy at one of these loud events, especially if that dizziness coincides with a rush of volume, this is another indication that damage has taken place.
- Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It’s an indication that damage is happening. You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss tinnitus just because it’s a relatively common condition.
- Headache: Generally speaking, a headache is a good indication that something isn’t right. This is definitely true when you’re attempting to gauge damage to your hearing, too. Too many decibels can trigger a pounding headache. And that’s a good indication that you should seek a quieter environment.
This list is not complete, obviously. There are tiny hairs inside of your ears which are responsible for picking up vibrations in the air and overly loud sounds can harm these hairs. And when an injury to these delicate hairs occurs, there’s no way for them to heal. They’re that specialized and that delicate.
And the phrase “ow, my little ear hairs hurt” isn’t something you ever hear anyone say. That’s why you need to look out for secondary symptoms.
It’s also possible for damage to occur with no symptoms whatsoever. Any exposure to loud sound will produce damage. And the damage will get worse the longer the exposure continues.
What should you do when you experience symptoms?
You’re rocking out just awesomely (everyone notices and is immediately captivated by how hard you rock, you’re the life of the party) when your ears start to ring, and you feel a little dizzy. What should you do? How loud is too loud? Are you hanging too close to the speakers? How should you know how loud 100 decibels is?
Well, you’ve got a few solutions, and they vary in terms of how effective they’ll be:
- Keep a pair of cheap earplugs with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. They aren’t the best hearing protection in the world, but they’re moderately effective for what they are. So there’s no reason not to keep a set with you. That way, if things get a bit too loud, you can just pop these puppies in.
- Check the merch booth: Disposable earplugs are available at some venues. So if you can’t find anything else, it’s worth checking out the merch booth or vendor area. Your hearing health is essential so the few dollars you pay will be well worth it.
- You can go someplace quieter: Truthfully, this is probably 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 show utilizing a different way to safeguard your hearing. But you should still think about leaving if your symptoms become significant.
- Put some distance between you and the source of noise: If your ears begin to hurt, make sure you aren’t standing near the stage or a giant speaker! Put simply, try moving away from the source of the noise. Maybe that means letting go of your front row NASCAR seats, but you can still enjoy the show and give your ears a needed respite.
- Use anything to block your ears: When things get noisy, the goal is to safeguard your ears. So if you don’t have any earplugs and the volume levels have caught you by surprise, think about using anything around you to cover up and protect your ears. It won’t be the most effective way to reduce the sound, but it will be better than no protection.
Are there more effective hearing protection methods?
So, disposable earplugs will work when you’re primarily interested in protecting your hearing for a couple of hours at a concert. But if you work in your garage daily fixing your old Chevelle with power tools, or if you have season tickets to your favorite football stadium or NASCAR, or you go to concerts nightly, it’s not the same.
In these situations, you will want to take a few more significant steps to safeguard your hearing. Here are some steps in that direction:
- Use a decibel monitoring app: Most modern smartphones will be able to download an app that monitors the ambient noise. When noise gets too loud, these apps will sound an alert. Monitor your own portable volume meter to ensure you’re safeguarding your ears. Using this strategy, the precise volume level that will harm your ears will be obvious.
- Professional or prescription level hearing protection is encouraged This may include personalized earplugs or over-the-ear headphones. The better the fit, the better the hearing protection. When need arises, you will have them with you and you can just put them in.
- Talk to us today: We can do a hearing assessment so that you’ll know where your hearing levels are right now. And when you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to notice and note any damage. Plus, we’ll have all kinds of personalized tips for you, all designed to keep your ears safe.
Have your cake and hear it, too
It may be a mixed metaphor but you get the point: you can protect your hearing and enjoy all these wonderful outdoor summer events. You just have to take steps to enjoy these activities safely. You need to take these measures even with headphones. Understanding how loud is too loud for headphones can help you make better choices about your hearing health.
Because if you really enjoy going to see an airshow or a NASCAR race or an outdoor summer concert, chances are, you’re going to want to continue doing that in the future. Being sensible now means you’ll be able to hear your favorite band decades from now.