Summer brings with it many opportunities to spend time outdoors, but did you know warm weather activities can also be harmful to your hearing? It’s not just fireworks on July 4 that can damage your hearing. Activities like mowing the lawn can be even more harmful that you might image. Lawn mowing exposes your ears to a noise level of around 90 decibels, which is enough to injure the hair cells in your inner ear that carry sound information to the brain. When these small hairs vibrate in response to sound, the vibrations are converted to electrical signals that journey to your brain. Most age-related hearing loss is due to injury to these hair cells and is called sensorineural hearing loss.
Summers spent mowing the lawn without ear protection can add up to hearing problems later in life, but other “sounds of summer” can also damage your hearing. Do you use free time in the summer to do home improvement projects? Drills and power saws expose your ears to noise in the 100 to 110 decibel range – too intense for your ears. As experts point out, you should wear hearing protection when exposed to sounds louder than 85 decibels. Going to an outdoor concert? A rock concert exposes you ears to sounds of around 115 decibels for a lengthy period of time.
Does this mean you can’t do that home improvement project you’ve been putting off since winter? Don’t sell your power tools just yet, but make sure your ears are protected with properly-inserted ear plugs when you use them. How do you know when noise is too loud? If you have to shout for someone to hear what you’re saying, it’s loud enough to be damaging. Wearing ear protection is a small step you can take to safeguard one of your most important senses – your sense of hearing. Be prepared and enjoy the sounds of summer safely!
Loyola Medicine. “Protect your hearing while enjoying the sounds of summer.”