Summertime has some activities that are simply staples: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. As more of these events go back to something resembling normal, the crowds, and the decibel levels, are growing.
And that can be an issue. Because let’s be honest: this isn’t the first outdoor concert that’s caused your ears to ring. That ringing is something called tinnitus, and it could be an indication of something bad: hearing damage. And as you continue to expose your ears to these loud noises, you continue to do additional irreversible damage to your hearing.
But don’t worry. With the proper hearing protection, you’ll be able to enjoy those summer experiences (even NASCAR) without doing permanent damage to your ears.
How can you tell if your hearing is taking a beating?
So, you’re at the air show or enjoying yourself at an amazing concert, how much attention should you be paying to your ears?
Because, naturally, you’ll be fairly distracted.
Well, if you want to stop significant injury, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Dizziness: Your inner ear is largely responsible for your ability to keep yourself balanced. Dizziness is another signal that damage has happened, particularly if it’s accompanied by a spike in volume. So if you’re at one of these noisy events and you feel dizzy you may have injured your ears.
- Headache: If you have a headache, something is probably wrong. This is definitely true when you’re attempting to gauge injury to your hearing, too. A pounding headache can be triggered by overly loud volume. If you find yourself in this situation, seek a quieter setting.
- Tinnitus: This is a buzzing or ringing in your ears. It means your ears are taking damage. You shouldn’t necessarily dismiss tinnitus simply because it’s a relatively common condition.
Needless to say, this list isn’t exhaustive. Loud noise causes hearing loss because the excessively loud decibel levels damage the tiny hairs in your ear responsible for sensing vibrations in the air. And once these tiny hairs are destroyed, they never heal or grow back. 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. That’s why you have to look out for secondary symptoms.
It’s also possible for damage to take place with no symptoms whatsoever. Any exposure to loud noise will produce damage. The longer you’re exposed, the more severe the damage will become.
When you do notice symptoms, what should I do?
You’re rocking out just amazingly (everybody notices and is instantly 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? Are you standing too close to the speakers? How are you supposed to know how loud 100 decibels is?
Well, you have several solutions, and they vary in terms of how effective they’ll be:
- Put a little distance between you and the source of noise: If your ears begin to hurt, make sure you’re not standing near the stage or a huge speaker! Essentially, distance yourself from the source of the noise. Maybe that means giving up your front row seats at NASCAR, but you can still enjoy the show and give your ears a needed break.
- Check the merch booth: Disposable earplugs are obtainable at some venues. So if you can’t find anything else, it’s worth trying the merch booth or vendor area. Usually, you won’t need to pay more than a few bucks, and with regards to the health of your hearing, that’s a deal!
- Use anything to block your ears: When things get noisy, the objective is to protect your ears. So if you don’t have any earplugs and the volume levels have caught you by surprise, consider using anything you can find to cover and safeguard your ears. Even though it won’t be as efficient as approved hearing protection, something is better than nothing.
- You can leave the venue: If you actually want to safeguard your ears, this is honestly your best option. But it may also put an end to your fun. So if your symptoms are serious, think about getting out of there, but we understand if you’d rather find a way to safeguard your hearing and enjoy the show.
- Keep a pair 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 isn’t any reason not to keep a pair in your glove compartment, purse, or wherever else. Now, if the volume starts to get a little too loud, you simply pull them out and pop them in.
Are there better hearing protection methods?
So, disposable earplugs will do when you’re primarily concerned about safeguarding your hearing for a couple of hours at a concert. But if you work in your garage every day 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 not the same.
In these cases, you will want to take a few more profound steps to safeguard your hearing. Those measures could include the following:
- Talk to us today: You need to identify where your present hearing levels are, so come in and let us help. And it will be a lot easier to identify and note any damage once a baseline is established. Plus, we’ll have a lot of personalized tips for you, all tailored to protect your ears.
- Professional or prescription level hearing protection is encouraged This may mean over-the-ear headphones, but more likely, it will mean custom fitted earplugs. The level of protection improves with a better fit. You can always take these with you and put them in when the need arises.
- Get an app that monitors volume levels: Ambient noise is usually monitored by your smartphone automatically, but you can also get an app that can do that. These apps will then alert you when the noise becomes dangerously high. 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 harm your ears.
Have your cake and hear it, too
It may be a mixed metaphor but you get the point: you can safeguard your hearing and enjoy all these wonderful outdoor summer activities. You just have to take measures to enjoy these activities safely. 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.
Because if you really love going to see an airshow or a NASCAR race or an outdoor summer concert, chances are, you’re going to want to continue doing that in the future. Being smart now means you’ll be capable of hearing your favorite band years from now.