Summertime has some activities that are just staples: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. As more of these activities return to something like normal, the crowds, and the decibel levels, are growing.
But sometimes this can cause issues. Because let’s be honest: this isn’t the first outdoor concert that’s left you with ringing ears. This ringing, known as tinnitus, can be an indication that you’ve sustained hearing damage. And the more damage you experience, the more your hearing will diminish.
But it’s ok. If you use reliable hearing protection, all of these summer activities can be safely enjoyed.
How to know your hearing is hurting
So how much attention should you be putting on your ears when you’re at that air show or concert?
Because, naturally, you’ll be pretty distracted.
Well, if you want to avoid significant damage, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Headache: In general, a headache is a strong indication that something isn’t right. This is certainly true when you’re trying to gauge injury to your hearing, too. Too many decibels can lead to a pounding headache. And that’s a good indication that you should find a quieter setting.
- Tinnitus: This is a buzzing or ringing in your ears. It’s an indication that damage is taking place. You shouldn’t automatically neglect tinnitus simply because it’s a relatively common condition.
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is generally responsible for your ability to stay balanced. Dizziness is another indication that damage has happened, especially if it’s accompanied by a change in volume. So if you’re at one of these loud events and you feel dizzy you could have injured your ears.
Obviously, this list isn’t complete. Loud noise leads to hearing loss because the excessively loud decibel levels harm the tiny hairs in your ear responsible for detecting vibrations in the air. And when an injury to these delicate hairs occurs, there’s no way for them to heal. That’s how delicate and specialized they are.
And the phrase “ow, my tiny ear hairs hurt” isn’t something you ever hear people 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 detect symptoms?
You’re rocking out just awesomely (everybody notices and is immediately captivated by how hard you rock, you’re the life of the party) when your ears begin to ring, and you feel a little dizzy. How loud is too loud and what should you do? And are you in the danger zone? How should you know how loud 100 decibels is?
Well, you have a few options, and they vary when it comes to how effective they’ll be:
- Bring cheap earplugs around 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 excuse not to keep a set with you. That way, if things get a bit too loud, you can simply pop these puppies in.
- Put a little distance between you and the origin of noise: If your ears begin to hurt, be sure you’re not standing near the stage or a giant speaker! Put simply, try getting away from the source of the noise. Perhaps that means giving up your front row NASCAR seats, but you can still enjoy the show and give your ears a needed break.
- Find the merch booth: Disposable earplugs are available at some venues. Check out the merch booth for earplugs if you don’t have anything else. Your hearing health is essential so the few bucks you pay will be well worth it.
- Use anything to block your ears: When things get noisy, the objective 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 takes you by surprise. Although it won’t be as effective as approved hearing protection, something is better than nothing.
- You can get out of the venue: Honestly, this is likely your best possible solution if you’re looking to protect your hearing health. But it’s also the least fun solution. It would be understandable if you’d rather stay and enjoy the concert using a different way to protect your hearing. But you should still think about leaving if your symptoms become severe.
Are there more effective hearing protection strategies?
So when you need to safeguard your ears for a short time at a concert, disposable earplugs will do. But it’s a bit different when you’re a music-lover, and you attend concerts nightly, or you have season tickets to NASCAR or football games, or you work in your garage every evening repairing an old Corvette with noisy power tools.
You will want to use a bit more sophisticated methods in these scenarios. Those measures could include the following:
- Speak with us today: You need to recognize where your present hearing levels are, so come in and let us help. And after you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to observe and note any damage. Plus, we’ll have all kinds of individualized tips for you, all designed to keep your ears safe.
- Use professional or prescription level ear protection. This might mean over-the-ear headphones, but more likely, it will mean personalized earplugs. The degree of protection improves with a better fit. You can always bring these with you and put them in when you need them.
- Get an app that monitors volume levels: 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 loud. In order to safeguard your ears, keep an eye on your decibel monitor on your phone. This way, you’ll be capable of easily seeing what decibel level is loud enough to damage your ears.
Have your cake and hear it, too
It may be a mixed metaphor but you get the point: you can enjoy all those awesome summer activities while still safeguarding your hearing. You just have to take measures to enjoy these activities safely. And that’s true with anything, even your headphones. You will be able to make better hearing choices when you understand how loud is too loud for headphones.
Because if you really enjoy going to see an airshow or a NASCAR race or an outdoor summer concert, chances are, you’re going to want to keep doing that as the years go on. If you’re not smart now you might end up losing your hearing and also your summer fun.