As the leaves begin to change, we encourage you to consider changing your hearing healthcare habits, too. Several autumn activities can cause noise-induced hearing loss without proper hearing protection, but you may not even be aware of the risks. People of all ages should take extra precautions to protect their ears from damage during fun fall activities.
Prolonged exposure to the sounds of leaf blowers, power tools, motorized vehicles, sporting events and concerts can all lead to irreversible hearing damage. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your ears safe and prevent permanent hearing loss.
The following tips are recommended by the Better Hearing Institute, an organization devoted to educating the public about proper hearing health and helping those with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment.
When you are going to be exposed to loud sounds, wear earplugs to prevent damage to your hearing. Disposable earplugs made of foam or silicone are readily available and will allow you to hear music and conversations while blocking dangerously loud sounds. Custom ear protection crafted from earmolds will perfectly fit the unique contours of your ears, guaranteeing a snug, proper fit and dependable protection.
Limit your time in noisy environments.
Take steps to limit the length of time you spend in noisy environments. When participating in noisy activities, make sure to give yourself periodic quiet breaks.
Keep the volume down.
When listening to music—especially through headphones or earbuds—keep the volume turned down. If others around you can hear your music, it’s too loud.
Talk to your audiologist about hearing protection.
Your audiologist can help you find a solution for protecting your hearing that fits your lifestyle. Options for protecting your hearing without compromising your performance are available for a wide range of activities. From specialty musician’s plugs that let you hear the notes risk-free to hunter’s plugs that enhance ambient noise while protecting your hearing from gunshots and explosions, a solution exists for all activities and lifestyles.
Leave the leaf blowing to the professionals.
Leaf blowers become a necessity once fall is in full swing, but they represent an extreme noise hazard and are better left to the professionals. The sound produced by some leaf blowers at close range can cause permanent hearing damage in fewer than 15 minutes. If you aren’t willing to hire a professional landscaper to do the work, consider replacing older models of leaf blowers with newer models that offer reduced decibel output. Even the quietest leaf blowers available will gradually damage your ears, so always wear quality or custom earplugs during yard work.
Realize the risks of football season.
In stadiums across America, football fans are gearing up for another fun season of competition. There’s no better way to support your team than cheering wildly with fellow fans at a live event, but there’s also no better way to permanently damage your hearing. Any sound over 85 dB should be considered potentially dangerous, and noise over 120 dB is known to cause instant hearing loss. Last year, Kansas City Chiefs fans set a new record for loudest stadium at 142.2 dB—that’s louder than a gunshot, jet engine or fireworks. Whether you’re attending a high school, college or professional game, earplugs are essential to your hearing safety.