Summer has some activities that are simply staples: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. The crowds, and the noise levels, are growing as more of these events are going back to normal.
But sometimes this can lead to issues. Let’s face it: you’ve had ringing in your ears after attending a concert before. That ringing is often called tinnitus, and it could be an indication of something bad: hearing damage. And the more damage you do, the more your hearing will wane.
But it’s ok. With the proper ear protection, you’ll be able to enjoy those summer activities (even NASCAR) without doing long-term damage to your ears.
How can you know if your hearing is taking a beating?
So how much attention should you be putting on your ears when you’re at that air show or concert?
Because, obviously, you’ll be pretty distracted.
Well, if you want to avoid severe injury, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It’s a sign that damage is taking place. Tinnitus is rather common, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard it.
- Headache: Generally, a headache is a good sign that something is wrong. 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 situation, seek a less noisy setting.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is generally responsible for your ability to remain balanced. So if you’re feeling dizzy at one of these loud events, particularly if that dizziness coincides with a charge of volume, this is another sign that damage has taken place.
This list isn’t exhaustive, obviously. Loud noise causes hearing loss because the extra loud decibel levels harm the tiny hairs in your ear responsible for sensing vibrations in the air. And once these tiny hairs are destroyed, they never heal or grow back. That’s how fragile and specialized they are.
And it isn’t like you’ve ever heard anyone say, “Ow, the little hairs in my ear hurt”. So looking out for secondary symptoms will be the only way you can know if you’re developing hearing loss.
You also may be developing hearing loss with no noticeable symptoms. Damage will happen whenever you’re exposed to overly loud sound. The longer you’re exposed, the more significant the damage will become.
What should you do when you notice symptoms?
You’re rocking out just awesomely (everyone notices and is instantly entertained by how hard you rock, you’re the life of the party) when your ears start to ring, and you feel a little dizzy. How loud is too loud and what should you do? And are you in a dangerous spot? How are you supposed to know how loud 100 decibels is?
Here are a few options that have different levels of effectiveness:
- You can go someplace quieter: If you actually want to safeguard your ears, this is honestly your best option. But it will also finish your fun. So if your symptoms are serious, consider leaving, but we understand if you’d rather pick a way to safeguard your hearing and enjoy the concert.
- Use anything to block your ears: When things get noisy, the aim is to safeguard your ears. Try to use something around you to cover your ears if you don’t have earplugs and the high volume suddenly surprises you. It won’t be the most effective way to reduce the sound, but it will be better than nothing.
- Find the merch booth: Disposable earplugs are obtainable at some venues. So if you don’t have anything else, it’s worth checking out the merch booth or vendor area. Usually, you won’t have to pay more than a few bucks, and when it comes to the health of your hearing, that’s a deal!
- Try distancing yourself from the source of the noise: If you experience any ear pain, distance yourself from the speakers. Put simply, try moving away from the origin of the noise. Perhaps that means letting go of your front row NASCAR seats, but you can still have fun at the show and give your ears a necessary break.
- Keep a set of cheap earplugs with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. For what they are, they’re relatively effective and are better than no protection. So there’s no reason not to have a set in your glove compartment, purse, or wherever else. That way, if things get a little too loud, you can just pop in these puppies.
Are there better hearing protection methods?
So when you need to safeguard your ears for a short time at a concert, disposable earplugs will do. But if you work in your garage every day fixing your old Chevelle with power tools, or if you have season tickets to your favorite football team or NASCAR, or you go to concerts a lot, it’s a little different.
In these cases, you will want to take a few more serious steps to protect your hearing. Here are some steps in that direction:
- Get an app that monitors decibel levels: Most modern smartphones will be able to get an app that monitors the ambient noise. When noise gets too loud, these apps will let you know. In order to safeguard your ears, keep an eye on your volume monitor on your phone. This way, you’ll be capable of easily seeing what decibel level is loud enough to harm your ears.
- Speak with us today: We can perform a hearing assessment so that you’ll know where your hearing levels currently are. And when you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to notice and record damage. Plus, we’ll have all kinds of individualized tips for you, all designed to protect your ears.
- Wear professional or prescription level ear protection. This could include custom earplugs or over-the-ear headphones. The better the fit, the better the hearing protection. You can always bring these with you and put them in when you need them.
Have your cake and hear it, too
Alright, it’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but the point holds: you can protect your hearing and enjoy all these wonderful outdoor summer events. You just have to take measures to enjoy these activities safely. You need to take these measures even with headphones. Identifying how loud is too loud for headphones can help you make better decisions about your hearing health.
As the years go on, you will probably want to keep doing all of your favorite outdoor summer activities. If you’re not smart now you might end up losing your hearing and also your summer fun.