Everyday Activities That Could Harm Your Hearing

Everyday Activities That Could Harm Your Hearing

What is the last situation that made you worry about hearing protection? If you found yourself at a loud concert, then perhaps you became concerned that the decibel level was too high. Those who work in factories, industrial sites, or other workplaces with heavy machinery might be concerned that their exposure to noise is enough to damage hearing. If you have ever heard a gunshot at close range, then you know just how loud that sound can be. 

In each of these situations, your concern about hearing damage should translate into wearing hearing protection! Even wearing disposable foam earplugs can lower the volume level of noise by 10 to 15 decibels, pulling that experience into the safe range in some contexts. More advanced hearing protection is necessary for higher volumes of noise, particularly if you are exposed for an entire workday. In addition to these obviously dangerous settings, you might be exposed to other hearing risks that are easy to ignore. The crucial consideration when it comes to noise-related hearing loss is not only how loud the sound is but also how long you are exposed to it. 

A relatively loud sound experienced for a sustained period of time, such as those produced by the following everyday activities, can be just as risky as an extremely loud and brief sound in some cases. Let’s explore the dangers associated with some of these everyday activities so that you can protect yourself the next time they come along. 

Lawn Care

Many lawnmowers, weed whackers, and leaf blowers can cause a perfect storm when it comes to noise level and duration of use. Some lawn mowers can be as loud as 90 decibels and higher, which exceeds the recommended threshold of 85 decibels. Although this sound is relatively loud, it does need to be experienced for a sustained duration in order to risk hearing damage. Anyone with a very large lawn will understand how much time it requires to maintain! Particularly if you follow lawn mowing with weed whacking and leaf blowing in a single day, your ears will have been exposed to noise for too long a duration. Wearing earplugs is a starting point when it comes to protection, but you can also put on a pair of noise-cancelling earmuffs for better protection.

Restaurants and Bars

Although you seldom see people who work at restaurants and bars wearing earplugs, these amenities create another perfect storm for hearing risk. Many of these establishments play music in the background, creating the ambiance and a fun environment. When groups of people gather to talk, they need to talk over that music to be heard. When another group of people enters that room, they need to be able to talk over not only the music but also the other patrons. 

The more popular a restaurant or bar, the more likely it is to be filled with customers competing for sonic space. A long dinner or night out can expose us to sustained volumes that are sufficient to cause hearing damage, and those who work in these places of business are particularly at risk of hearing damage. You might want to consider wearing hearing protection, limiting your time in the establishment, or seeking a quieter part of the room with the advice of the staff. 

Headphones and Earbuds

When it comes to headphones and earbuds, many of us create a similar combination effect of nose levels. Particularly for those of us who wear earbuds while commuting on a noisy train or exercising amidst a din of treadmills and machinery, the combination of environmental sound and our chosen music, audiobook, or podcast can combine to a dangerously high level of noise. We are, in effect, competing with that environmental sound when we turn up the volume to be able to hear our devices in loud environments. Listening to earbuds while mowing the lawn might be a worst-case scenario! 

Rather than turning up the volume to compete with the surrounding soundscape, you can download an app to help you monitor your volume use. You can also get noise-cancelling headphones that work against sound in the environment while also playing the music or other sonic entertainment you enjoy. 

If you have experienced changes in your hearing, it is important to take a hearing test! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.