Protecting Your Hearing This Holiday Weekend
As the better speech and hearing month comes to an end and we begin a holiday weekend, it is important to ensure you are protecting your hearing! You can damage your hearing and speed up the hearing loss from persistent noise exposure. What kinds of noises, how loud do they have to be, and for how long can you listen to them before damaging your hearing?
First, we want to discuss a decibel (dB), which is the measurement of the loudness of sound. When you get your hearing tested by a hearing professional, they use this measurement to understand your hearing loss. Decibels are used to measure sounds like whispers, fireworks, lawnmowers, etc. When you repeatedly or for a certain amount of time expose yourself to these sounds, you damage the nerves that help you hear. You should never expose yourself to more than 15 minutes of 100dB of noise. So how do you know what is too loud?
- A silent study room is around 20 dB
- Whispers are around 40 dB
- Average conversational speech is around 60 dB
- A nightclub playing music is around 110 dB
- An airplane is around 120 dB
So before you enjoy an outdoor concert or shoot off any fireworks, make sure that you protect yourself from these loud sounds! There are several ways to protect yourself from damaging sounds.
Distance yourself from the source
- The closer you are to the source of the sound, the louder it will be and can potentially be more damaging
- Instead of sitting by the speaker at the picnic/concert/ outdoor event find yourself several feet away depending on how loud the speaker is to prevent loud sounds from becoming damaging
Wear hearing protection
- There are so many ways to wear hearing protection and find what is right for you!
- You can get custom hearing protection pieces from a hearing care professional, soft foam earplugs, headsets, and so many more!
A hearing loss from noise exposure is different from hearing loss from old age or even genetic hearing loss. Hearing professionals can perform specific tests that measure out to 10kHz (traditional hearing tests only go to 8kHz). There are also different patterns that a hearing care professional can identify for noise exposure hearing loss. Make sure you let your local hearing care professional know about any noise exposure you have experienced or any recent changes in hearing.