Summer is here, and you know what that means: beaches, pools, family fun, camping, fireworks, concerts, yard work, and so much more.
It’s time to play!
With all the excitement and fun that comes with summer, it’s easy to forget the safety checks that help you have the most enjoyable time possible, especially when it comes to protecting your hearing.
The Hard-to-Hear Numbers
Did you know that according to the CDC, more than 40 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss related to noise exposure? This noise-induced hearing loss is avoidable with the right hearing protection in place—which is extra important during all those loud summer celebrations.
Any sound over 85 decibels—for example, the blender in your kitchen or the lawn mower—can be damaging, especially if the exposure occurs over a long period of time. But how do you know when to use hearing protection or get away from the noise?
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), noise is potentially damaging if:
- It hurts your ears.
- You must raise your voice to be understood by someone nearby.
- Your normal hearing is impacted for several hours after experiencing it.
- There is a buzzing or ringing sound in your ears.
This Summer, Protect Your Hearing
Here are key tips to protect and help your hearing, according to hearing healthcare professionals:
- Protect your ears at noisy clubs, concerts, or sporting events, near loudspeakers, on airplanes, by heavy machinery, and around guns, cannons, construction, and especially fireworks. Don’t let the bright colors and flashes fool you; fireworks can be very damaging to your hearing! In all these situations, use ear plugs or noise-canceling earmuffs. If those aren’t available, cover your ears with your hands. Rolled up tissue or napkin pieces in the ear don’t work because they’re not designed to block sound.
Fireworks can be very damaging to your hearing!
- Walk away from loud noises or rest your ears when possible. Remove yourself from loud noise every 15 minutes and then give your ears time afterward—some suggest 18 hours—to recover.
- Turn down the volume of music, radio, and TV to avoid permanent damage to your ears resulting from loud sound exposure for long periods of time. Try to limit music levels to 60 percent of maximum volume or follow the 80/90 rule: listen at 80 percent of the max volume for 90 minutes a day. Turn it up louder, subtract total listening time per day. Turn it down, listen longer.
- When listening to music, use noise-canceling headphones—which block out other noises like the lawn mower—so sounds don’t compete and force you to turn up the volume. If you’re not using noise-canceling headphones while around other loud sounds, it’s permanent hearing damage waiting to happen, as it creates a paradoxically dangerous scenario: When you turn up your headphones, you will hear the music better, but with detrimental effects on your hearing health.
- After being in the water, thoroughly dry your ears to prevent infection. You may want to also invest in some swimmer’s ear protection to keep the water out altogether. If you do get water in your ears, and it just keeps sloshing around, try a drop of hydrogen peroxide. This will break the water tension and allow the water to flow out so you can properly dry your ears.
- Manage stress. High cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your system may lead to poor circulation, which can impact hearing.
- Exercise and play as much as you can. Getting your heart rate up will increase blood flow, which can lead to healthier hearing.
- Eat healthy. Losing weight and eating healthy—much like getting exercise—will help improve your overall health for an active and exciting summer.
- Add in fun summer activities that won’t possibly damage hearing, such as hikes or walks in the park, picnics, game nights with friends or family, etc.
This Summer, Keep Your Hearing Health Top of Mind
Our resident expert and audiologist, Stephen DeMari, says, “We typically don’t stop and think about our sense of hearing, and we usually cope with any hearing difficulties we may have and forgo any ear protection in general. Summer is a good time of year to think about your sense of hearing and how to best protect it from this noisy world.
Just as we protect our eyes with goggles and our heads with bike helmets, you should consider wearing in-ear or over-the-ear plugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing. Especially now—coming out of this pandemic and as larger events return to normal—we should remember to wear noise-protection when we mow the lawn, pound a hammer, use power tools (like leaf-blowers), etc., and most importantly for all adults and children, how loud we listen to music via headphones.”
Watch for signs of hearing loss, which include asking others to repeat themselves, difficulty understanding phone conversations, listening to the TV or radio at high volumes, noticing a ringing sound in one or both ears, and avoiding social settings. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, reach out to a hearing health care professional to discuss hearing solutions that best suit your needs.
CaptionCall Can Help
CaptionCall is the industry leader in providing captioned-telephone service at no-cost to anyone who has hearing loss and needs captions to use the phone effectively. If you are experiencing hearing loss—whether it’s noise-induced or due to age, disease, or genetics—and talking over the phone has become difficult, we can help you reconnect with friends and loved ones.
The CaptionCall service uses advanced voice recognition technology, a transcription service, and human captioning agents to quickly provide accurate captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen, helping users better understand conversations. The CaptionCall phone works like a traditional telephone: callers simply dial and answer calls as usual, and then speak and listen using a phone handset.
Don’t let hearing loss hold you back! Contact CaptionCall today, feel confident using the phone again, and make plans for this to be the best summer yet.