It's that time of year! Dining out, holiday shopping, office parties...
For many of us, these are occasions to look forward to at this time of year, but recent studies have shown holiday activities like this may present risks to our hearing health.
The decibel level at restaurants across North America has spiked for several reasons, one of them being a shift to more casual eateries where groups of diners are encouraged to share plates and conversation. Likewise, many office parties create a boisterous atmosphere — often in an area with poor acoustics that can put ears at risk.
Our own Director of Professional Practice MJ DeSousa says the noise in many social atmospheres can rise close to or even above the 100-decibel level, which after a while can affect your hearing.
"We don't expect restaurants and malls to be as noisy as a sports arena or a concert hall, so we don't take the precautions to protect our hearing that we might in situations where we have been conditioned to face excessive noise," MJ says. "It's important to always carry earplugs, especially during the holiday season. But better yet, give yourself an early present by getting your hearing tested so you can ensure you stay connected to the people and activities you love."
Restaurant or nightclub workers are a group that's particularly at risk as mentioned in this article. The decibel levels in many restaurants can equate to the noise output of a power drill or other construction equipment, reports have shown. Shopping malls are also extremely crowded in November and December, leading to tremendously loud activity, and office parties are often held in confined areas where noise can't escape.
"More and more young people are facing hearing loss issues, and it's because they're exposed to environments with noise levels that can cause injury," MJ says. "Protecting your hearing is essential to maintaining a high quality of life."
Here is an interesting video I found that measures the decibel levels around various locations in Las Vegas. I was pretty surprised at how loud some of these are:
If you have any questions or want to inquire directly about hearing protection during the holidays contact a Connect Hearing clinic in your neighborhood.