As summer begins to wind down, individuals are maximizing their time by enjoying the last of their favorite summer activities and with the transition to fall upon us, we're excited to partake in our favorite events like football games, hiking, hunting and apple picking. However, unwise lifestyle choices can certainly lead to negative consequences, affecting both health status and on-the-job performance.
Here’s a good example: People routinely engage in activities that expose their hearing to harmful noise levels. As a result, at least 10 million, and perhaps as many as 40 million, U.S. adults show signs of hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
In many cases, the damage occurs during popular indoor and outdoor activities. Late summer/early fall is prime time for exposure to excessive noise. Across the country, people are still immersed in summer, which includes a spate of high-noise diversions and chores: motorcycle riding, fireworks, auto racing, outdoor concerts and lawn mowing, to name a few.
As the calendar flips to autumn, the activities may change — but the danger of excessive noise doesn’t go away. For example, hunters risk serious permanent damage to their hearing due to gun blasts near their ears. At home, fall yardwork entails the use of leaf blowers, chainsaws and other power equipment, all of which can erode hearing ability.
These and many other activities can produce sounds levels exceeding 85 decibels (dBs), the threshold at which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates hearing protection for workers. Following are some common sound sources and the typical decibel level for each:
- Lawn mower — 90 dB
- Motorcycle — 97 dB
- Chainsaw — 110 dB
- Rock concert — 100-120 dB
- Race car — 130 dB
- Firecrackers and firearms — 150 dB
Arm yourself and loved ones with knowledge
You may not be able to stop your loved ones from participating in risky activities. But you can inform them about how to prevent hearing loss. Click here for helpful details about noise-induced hearing loss and prevention. And if you suspect hearing loss, schedule an appointment for a hearing screening today at a nearby provider or take an online hearing quiz.