Summer has (unofficially) kicked off. The weather has finally improved and it's time to get back outside and enjoy it! We all love summer and the activities it brings, such as: outdoor concerts, festivals and parades, however, these summer events have one thing in common...loud noises that could damage your hearing.
Exposure to excessive noise is the leading cause of hearing loss for American adults. And it's usually permanent. According to the NIDCD, excessive noise exposure has permanently damaged the hearing of an estimated 26 millions Americans.
The good news? Noise-induced hearing loss is highly preventable. Before you pack your bag, consider these four ways to protect your hearing at summer events.
#1 Bring ear protection
Would you head to the beach without sunscreen? Bring earmuffs or foam or silicone earplugs when you know you're going to be around loud music or sounds. They're designed so you can still hear the event you're attending and conversations with friends. Pack enough hearing protection for everyone you're with or pick up disposable earplugs at a pharmacy if you forget. Don't use napkins or tissue. They just don't block the decibels properly and can cause more harm than good.
#2 Walk away
If loud noises happen suddenly, plug your ears with your hands and immediately increase the distance between you and the sounds. Stay a safe distance from speakers, 25 feet away or more. Talk about it with friends as you pick your spot. Some people might not realize that some event noises can be too loud, so it's good to spread the word.
#3 Limit time
Be fashionably late to an event or leave early. Take plenty of breaks from the section where the music is the loudest to avoid risk. Go to a concession area or restroom where the noise is quieter and give your ears a break. Be sure to discuss these solutions with children or grandkids so they understand the importance of protecting their hearing from a young age.
#4 Schedule an appointment
Frequent concert-go'ers should consider custom earplugs. Custom earmuffs are great ideas for young kids or grandchildren. A licensed hearing professional can help guide either option. While you're there, get a screening. Even if you're not experiencing hearing loss, it's important to get checked and establish a baseline for the future.