Some activities are just staples of summer: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. The crowds, and the noise levels, are growing as more of these events are getting back to normal.
But sometimes this can cause issues. Let’s face it: you’ve had ringing in your ears after attending a concert before. This ringing, known as tinnitus, can be a sign that you’ve sustained hearing damage. And the more damage you experience, the more your hearing will decline.
But don’t worry. With the correct hearing protection, you’ll be able to enjoy those summer experiences (even NASCAR) without doing lasting damage to your ears.
How can you tell 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 you’ll be pretty distracted, understandably.
You should watch out for the following symptoms if you want to prevent severe damage:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is generally responsible for your ability to stay 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 occurred.
- Headache: Generally speaking, a headache is a strong sign that something isn’t right. And when you’re attempting to gauge hearing damage this is even more relevant. Too many decibels can result in a pounding headache. If you find yourself in this scenario, seek a less noisy setting.
- Tinnitus: This is a buzzing or ringing in your ears. It means your ears are taking damage. You shouldn’t necessarily ignore tinnitus simply because it’s a fairly common condition.
Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive. Loud noise causes hearing loss because the extra loud volume levels damage the tiny hairs in your ear responsible for sensing vibrations in the air. And when 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 anyone 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. Any exposure to loud sound will lead to damage. And the damage will get worse the longer the exposure continues.
What should you do when you notice symptoms?
You’re getting your best groove on (and everyone is digging it), but then, you start to feel dizzy and your ears start to ring. 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?
Well, you have a few options, and they vary with regards to how helpful they’ll be:
- Find the merch booth: Disposable earplugs are obtainable at some venues. So if you can’t find anything else, it’s worth checking out the merch booth or vendor area. Typically, you won’t have to pay more than a few bucks, and when it comes to the health of your hearing, that’s a bargain!
- You can get out of the concert venue: 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 severe, think about getting out of there, but we get it if you’d rather find a way to protect your hearing and enjoy the concert.
- Put a little distance between you and the source of noise: If your ears start hurting, make sure you’re not standing next to the stage or a huge speaker! In other words, try moving away from the origin of the noise. Perhaps that means giving up your front row seats at NASCAR, but you can still have fun at the show and give your ears a needed break.
- Cover your ears with, well, anything: When things get noisy, the aim is to protect your ears. Try to use something near you to cover your ears if you don’t have earplugs and the high volume abruptly surprises you. It won’t be the most effective way to limit the sound, but it will be better than no protection.
- Keep a set of cheap earplugs with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. They aren’t the ideal hearing protection, but they’re moderately effective for what they are. So there’s no excuse not to keep a pair with you. This way, if things get a little too loud, you can just pop these puppies in.
Are there better hearing protection strategies?
So, disposable earplugs will work when you’re primarily concerned about safeguarding your hearing for a couple of hours at a concert. But if you work in your garage daily restoring 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 profound steps to safeguard your hearing. Those steps could include the following:
- Professional or prescription level hearing protection is encouraged This might mean over-the-ear headphones, but more likely, it will mean custom fitted earplugs. The better the fit, the better the protection. When you need them, you will have them with you and you can simply put them in.
- Talk to us today: We can do a hearing exam so that you’ll know where your hearing levels are right now. And when you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to detect and note any damage. You will also get the extra advantage of our personalized advice to help you keep your hearing safe.
- Use a volume monitoring app: Most modern smartphones will be able to download an app that monitors the ambient noise. These apps will then alert you when the noise becomes dangerously high. In order to protect your ears, keep an eye on your volume monitor on your phone. This way, you’ll be able to easily see what decibel level is loud enough to harm your ears.
Have your cake and hear it, too
It might be a mixed metaphor but you get the point: you can safeguard your hearing and enjoy all these wonderful outdoor summer activities. You will enjoy those activities safely by taking a few simple measures. And that’s true with everything, even your headphones. You will be able to make better hearing decisions when you recognize how loud is too loud for headphones.
As the years go on, you will most likely want to continue doing all of your favorite outdoor summer activities. Being sensible now means you’ll be capable of hearing your favorite band decades from now.