Some activities are just staples of summer: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. As more of these events return to something like normal, the crowds, and the decibel levels, are getting larger.
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. This ringing, known as tinnitus, can be an indication that you’ve sustained hearing damage. And the more damage you experience, the more your hearing will decline.
But don’t worry. If you use effective ear protection, all of this summer fun can be safely enjoyed.
How to know your hearing is suffering
So how much attention should you be putting on your ears when you’re at that air show or concert?
Because, naturally, you’ll be pretty distracted.
You should watch for the following symptoms if you want to prevent severe injury:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is primarily responsible for your ability to remain balanced. Dizziness is another indication that damage has occurred, particularly if it’s accompanied by a change in volume. So if you’re at one of these noisy events and you feel dizzy you may have damaged your ears.
- Headache: If you have a headache, something is probably not right. And when you’re attempting to gauge hearing damage this is even more relevant. A pounding headache can be caused by excessively loud volume. If you find yourself in this scenario, seek a quieter setting.
- Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It means your ears are taking damage. You shouldn’t automatically disregard tinnitus just because it’s a fairly common condition.
This list isn’t exhaustive, obviously. Loud noise leads to hearing loss because the excessively loud volume levels harm the tiny hairs in your ear responsible for detecting vibrations in the air. And once an injury to these fragile hairs occurs, there’s no way for them to heal. That’s how delicate and specialized they are.
And the phrase “ow, my little ear hairs hurt” isn’t something you ever hear people say. So looking out for secondary symptoms will be the only way you can detect if you’re developing hearing loss.
It’s also possible for damage to take place with no symptoms at all. Damage will occur whenever you’re exposed to excessively loud noise. The longer that exposure continues, the more severe the damage will become.
What should you do when you notice symptoms?
You’re rocking out just amazingly (everyone notices and is immediately captivated by how hard you rock, you’re the life of the party) when your ears begin to ring, and you feel a little dizzy. How loud is too loud and what should you do? Are you hanging too close to the speakers? (How loud is 100 decibels, anyway?)
Well, you’ve got several options, and they vary with regards to how effective they’ll be:
- Use anything to cover your ears: The goal is to protect your ears when things are loudest. Try to use something near you to cover your ears if you don’t have earplugs and the high volume abruptly takes you by surprise. It won’t be the most efficient way to control the sound, but it will be better than no protection.
- Find the merch booth: Disposable earplugs are available at some venues. Go to the merch booth for earplugs if you don’t have anything else. Usually, you won’t need to pay more than a few bucks, and with regards to the health of your hearing, that’s a deal!
- Put some distance between you and the origin of noise: If your ears start hurting, be sure you aren’t standing near the stage or a big speaker! In other words, try moving away from the source of the noise. You can give your ears a rest while still enjoying yourself, but you may have to give up your front row NASCAR seats.
- You can go somewhere quieter: If you actually want to protect your ears, this is really your best option. But it may also put an end to your fun. So if your symptoms are serious, consider getting out of there, but we understand if you’d rather pick a way to protect your hearing and enjoy the show.
- Bring cheap earplugs around with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. For what they are, they’re moderately effective and are better than nothing. So there isn’t any reason not to have a pair in your glove box, purse, or wherever else. Now, if the volume begins to get a little too loud, you simply pull them out and pop them in.
Are there better hearing protection methods?
So, disposable earplugs will work when you’re primarily concerned about protecting your hearing for a couple of hours at a concert. But it’s a little different when you’re a music-lover, and you go to concerts nightly, or you have season tickets to NASCAR or football games, or you work in your garage every night restoring an old Corvette with noisy power tools.
In these cases, you will want to take a few more serious steps to protect your hearing. Here are some steps in that direction:
- Professional or prescription level hearing protection is recommended This might mean over-the-ear headphones, but more likely, it will mean custom fitted earplugs. The level of protection increases with a better fit. You can always take these with you and put them in when you need them.
- Get an app that monitors volume levels: Ambient noise is normally monitored by your smartphone automatically, but you can also get an app for that. These apps will then warn you when the noise becomes dangerously high. Keep an eye on your own portable decibel meter to ensure you’re safeguarding your ears. This way, you’ll be capable of easily seeing what decibel level is loud enough to damage your ears.
- Talk to us today: You need to recognize where your present hearing levels are, so come in and let us help. And after you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to detect and record damage. You will also get the extra advantage of our personalized advice to help you keep your ears safe.
Have your cake and hear it, too
Alright, it’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but the point stands: you can enjoy all those awesome summer activities while still safeguarding your hearing. You just have to take measures to enjoy these activities safely. You need to take these measures even with headphones. You will be able to make better hearing choices when you recognize how loud is too loud for headphones.
Because if you really love going to see an airshow or a NASCAR race or an outdoor summer concert, chances are, you’re going to want to keep doing that in the future. If you’re not sensible now you might end up losing your hearing and also your summer fun.