Don’t let your summer fun affect your hearing health. Check out our tips for protecting your hearing from noise, moisture and infections.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one in three Americans have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Summer presents plenty of opportunities to expose your ears to dangerous volumes that cause permanent damage. Any sound louder than 85 decibels puts you at risk of hearing loss.
Dangerous summer sounds include:
- Lawnmowers: 90 decibels
- Power tools: 87 to 94 decibels
- Motorcycles: 96 to 105 decibels
- Outdoor concerts and sporting events: 105 to 110 decibels
- Leaf blowers: 110 decibels
- Chainsaws: 80 to 115 decibels
- Jackhammers: 130 decibels
- Fireworks: 160 decibels
You can protect your hearing by wearing earplugs, which you can find at almost any drugstore. Disposable earplugs are available in foam, plastic and silicone options. But you may want to invest in custom hearing protection or earmuffs if you want a more secure fit.
Distance yourself from loud sounds and monitor the noise levels of your surroundings. There are several free decibel-tracking apps for smartphones.
This infection of the outer ear and ear canal occurs when bacteria-infested water gets lodged in the ear. It is extremely common and can be caused by swimming or showering.
- Redness on the outer ear
- Ear pain
- Swelling in the ear
- Muffled hearing or hearing loss
- Fluid drainage
Repeated infections can permanently damage the hair cells in your ears that send sound signals to your brain. It’s important to thoroughly dry your ears after you’ve been in the water. Tilt your head to each side and allow moisture to drain from your ear canal before wiping them with a clean towel or cloth.
Hearing Aid Risks
Warmer weather means more humidity which can create moisture build-up on hearing aids. Excess moisture can damage wiring, receivers and mics. It can also cause corrosion on battery connections.
You may need to remove hearing aids or wear a swim cap if you’re swimming, water-skiing, boating or jet-skiing. Implementing daily hearing aid maintenance will also help lower the risk of damage.
Here are some tips for keeping hearing aids dry:
- Wipe hearing aids down each night with a clean, dry cloth.
- Open battery compartments and use a cotton swab to clear away moisture or corrosion. Leave the compartment open overnight to dry completely.
- Use a puffer or hairdryer on a low, cool setting to expel moisture from hearing aid tubing.
- Place hearing aids in a dehumidifier to eliminate any remaining moisture.