As the weather gets nicer, it's time to get outside, get active and meet family and friends for fun. But some of these activities have excessive noises that you might not even think about.
A good rule of thumb is 85 decibels (dB)...extended or repeated sounds at 85 decibels or more can cause noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the sounds, the quicker the hearing loss. The BHI estimates that 30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous noise levels every day.
Be aware this summer. Here are five surprising outdoor activities that could damage your hearing and five ways to identify how loud is too loud.
1. Yard work: 90 dB-120 dB
You might not immediately consider home improvements projects as dangerous to your hearing as a rock concert, but they can be. The estimated decibel levels of lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed whackers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws and power tools can be damaging as loud music over an extended period of time.
2. Recreational rides: 95 dB-110 dB
Hitting the road or the open waters could affect your hearing. The estimated decibel levels from wind and engine noise when riding motorcycles, boats, jet skis and 4-wheelers could cause hearing loss. Also, road construction can dampen the fun of any ride in an unexpected way. Jackhammers and other loud construction equipment could affect your hearing.
3. Sports: 95dB-115 dB
It might be surprising to learn that even outdoor sports can be too loud. During the next baseball game remember to protect yourself and the youngest ears to ensure everyone's hearing health.
4. Car races and air shows: 95 dB-140 dB
These estimated decibel levels are almost off the charts. The loud noises from race cars and airplanes can cause tinnitus or hearing loss.
5. Fireworks: 140+ dB
One loud boom could permanently affect your hearing. Avoid setting off fireworks yourself. There's just not a safe distance between you and firecrackers. Enjoy displays at city parks that are handled by professionals.
If you're out doing one of these activities, how do you know when loud is too loud? Think about these 5 things to determine if the event is too loud...
- If you have to shout over background noise in order to be heard
- If you can hear people talking to you, but you can't understand them
- If your smartphone decibel app says the volume is over 85 dB
- If the noise is painful to your ears
- If your ears are ringing during or after the event
If ringing, pain or any other hearing issues are still around a couple of days after an event, please contact a hearing professional.
It's important to get out and enjoy summer activities. For tips on how to protect your hearing while you're out having fun, check out Summer survival: 4 ways to prevent hearing loss.