Summer is here and it's time to get into the backyard and the great outdoors.
Across Canada, people are planning individual and family adventures, from watching sporting events (and participating in amateur ones) to barbecues, movie nights and trips to the amusement park. It's also a time for activities that are not fun but are necessary, like home maintenance and car repairs.
Summer brings warm weather but it also has its challenges, especially when it comes to hearing health. At Connect Hearing we work hard to encourage Canadians to make their hearing health a priority, including through the offering of free hearing tests at our clinics across the country.
M.J. DeSousa, Connect Hearing’s Director of Professional Practice, says summer is a wonderful season but cautions that people are often having too much fun to notice the dangers around them.
“Summer is warm, fun, and relaxing, but what those of us concerned about your hearing health want you to know is that summer can also be a season that requires awareness,” says DeSousa. “Music festivals are known for being over-the-top noisy. Sporting events – especially motorsports – can easily approach dangerous decibel levels. Young people and earphones can be a dangerous combination. My advice is to have fun, but be aware that there are dangers and protect yourself accordingly.”
Here are 5 Tips for a Healthy Summer of Hearing.
1. Beware of Crowd Noise
Summer is filled with music festivals, concerts and sporting events. These are wonderful things to do, but understand that with crowds come crowd noise. An average rock concert can average 110-120 decibels (dB) when at the back and close to 140 dB if you are in front of the speakers.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't go to see your favourite sports team or rock group play, or that you should miss seeing the fireworks or the movies. But always be aware of noise levels whenever you travel.
2. Turn Down the Volume on Earphones
We touched on this with crowd noise, but another danger are earphones. There are very few things more relaxing than chilling out on a park bench with the headphones. Keep things safe by setting the volume at a comfortable level.
When you blast music loud into your ears you risk causing serious damage.
According to the Journal of American Medical Association via an article in the John Jay Sentinel, hearing loss in teens is “30% higher than it was in the ’80s and ’90s”. About 1 in 5 teens have suffered some degree of hearing loss due to loud exposures of music through headphones.
3. Careful Summer Cleaning
One spring and summer ritual is maintenance – cleaning the house and washing the car are two big things on many people's to-do list. This means vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and power tools. It may seem like just another warm-weather routine but continued exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing. Wear noise-dampening headphones or at least use earplugs.
4. Travel with Caution
Another area where we tend to let our guard down is when we travel. Planes and trains can present a threat to hearing loss. When travelling in a large Canadian city our access to plane and train noise is somewhat limited, but in some bustling airports and train stations crowd and machine noise can be damaging. Airport noise can hit 110 dB easily. Choose your airline seats so you don't sit over the wings and the loud engines attached to them, and wear earplugs when you're on the train.
5. Swimming with Health In Mind
When you go for a dip, make sure that water stays in the pool. According to EHS Today, “swimmer's ear” is caused by painful membrane swelling due to trapped moisture in the outer ear. Special earplugs can be purchased for swimming. After a dip, tilt your head to drain water from each ear and gently wipe the outer ear with a towel.
For more information you can contact a Connect Hearing Clinic close to you.