In Australia this around this time each year, we’re bombarded with campaigns that remind us to shield our skin from the sun and to be careful around water. But no one says a word about protecting our hearing…
Over exposure to loud sound is one of the most common culprits for hearing loss, and summer can be an especially hazardous time for hearing health. We’ve got the mower and the power tools out, we zip around the water on jet skis and motorised boats, we go to concerts and outdoor festivals likely to have fireworks, some of us go target shooting.
Damage is cumulative, and the end result can be hearing loss and even tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Thankfully, rather than restrict ourselves of these essential parts of summer, there are things you can do to reduce their impact on your hearing:
1. Limit the amount of time you spend in a loud environment: allow yourself at least ten minutes of complete quiet for every hour of loud sound you’re exposed to.
2. Maintain a safe distance from the source of loud sound. (Leave fireworks to the professionals!)
3. Turn it down! Your music is too loud if you can’t clearly understand someone talking at a conversational level from an arm’s length away.
4. Use earplugs: disposable earplugs are available at most pharmacies. Customised versions provide superior protection. Look for musician’s earplugs that filter out damaging decibels at music events.
5. Dry your ears after water immersion. OR wear swimmer’s earplugs and/or a neoprene hood or swimmer’s cap.
What potential hearing hazards do you encounter over Summer? What steps, if any, do you take to protect your hearing?