Summer is here again! Cold weather is far behind us and we are enjoying hot and sunny days. However, summer hearing hazards exist, and you should know about them!
Summer is a fun and active season. Plentiful sunshine leads to increased participation in outdoor activities, and it’s a popular time for travel. While you’re out enjoying yourself, however, it’s easy to forget about your hearing health.
Whether you’re planning to spend your time puttering around the house or you’re hopping on a plane to spend a week at the beach, your hearing health could be in danger.
1. Lawnmowers and power tools can cause damage to your hearing
Summertime brings new growth and greenery to lawns and backyards. During the summer, it’s not unusual to wake up to the sound of your neighbor’s lawnmower roaring next door, but when you go to rev up your own, be sure to take precautions.
According to the CDC, gas-powered lawnmowers operate at a sound level between 80 and 85 decibels. At those levels, it is possible to experience damage to your hearing after only two hours of exposure.
Power tools carry a similar risk. To protect yourself when mowing your lawn or constructing that new deck, be sure to use hearing protection, like earplugs, and limit your exposure to the noise caused by your tools as much as possible. Even if you’re wearing hearing protection, you should take breaks often and give your ears a chance to rest.
2. Safety precautions are important at concerts and fireworks shows
You can make wonderful memories at a summer concert or fireworks display, but please remember that by partaking in loud activities, you could be damaging your hearing.
Firecrackers generally explode at 140 to 150 decibels, which can cause ear pain and injury, including hearing loss. If you plan to attend a firework display or a concert, safeguard your ears by wearing ear protection. Earplugs are inexpensive, widely available, and can help you preserve your hearing.
3. Swimmer’s ear exists, and you don’t want it
Swimmer’s ear is an infection that commonly occurs due to excessive moisture in the outer ear canal. As you can probably guess by the name, this infection is often found in swimmers! The infection thrives in moist environments, and when water remains in your ear canal after a swim, it creates the perfect environment for the infection to grow.
You can prevent swimmer’s ear by ensuring that your ears are fully dry after you go for a dip in the pool. If you feel moisture trapped inside your ear, tip your head to the side to help the water drain out. Take a soft towel or cloth along with you and wipe the water from your outer ear with the cloth after you swim, making sure to dry it thoroughly.
If you believe you have contracted swimmer’s ear, see a physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
4. Air travel can cause ear pain and hearing loss
Air travel can cause discomfort in a passenger’s ear or ears. Some travelers even experience severe pain. The discomfort and pain are caused by rapid changes in air pressure during the flight. If the pressure builds up enough, it can cause your eardrum to rupture, leading to hearing loss.
If you experience ear pain while flying, or if you have never flown and think you might experience pain, you can prepare in advance by purchasing earplugs. There are earplugs designed specifically to relieve the pressure in your ears during flights. Chewing a piece of gum or swallowing when you feel pressure in your ears can also help. It is especially helpful to take precautions during ascent and descent. During takeoff and landing, you will experience the most changes in pressure.
Avoid flying at all if you have an ear infection or cold. If you’re battling an infection or sick with a cold, it is likely that the Eustachian tube in your ear is filled with fluid. If there is a blockage, it may prevent the pressure in your ears from equalizing, causing your eardrum to rupture.
5. Keep the volume reasonable, even when your favorite song is on
Do you like to listen to music while you jog in your neighborhood? Maybe you prefer tuning in to a podcast while you work in the garden?
Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily materialize due to a one-time event. In fact, hearing loss often occurs when the sufferer has been exposed to loud noises over an extended period of time. Listening to your favorite songs or podcasts at a loud volume can cause hearing damage.
If your favorite summer activity includes popping in your earbuds, pay attention to the noise levels and keep them reasonable. Don’t make the mistake of turning up the volume to drown out background noise. It’s easy to keep ratcheting up the sound and not realize how high the volume is getting.
You can prevent hearing loss with a few simple precautions and still have fun! Be prepared, be safe, and have a great summer!