As the weather gets nicer, it's time to get outside, get active and have some fun. But some summertime activities can expose you to harmful noises that you might not even think about.
How loud is too loud?
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.
Here are a few summer activities that can be hazardous:
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. Outdoor Events: 95 dB-115 dB
It might be surprising to learn that even outdoor events can be too loud. Cheers at sporting events, bands playing in a parade and concerts at a band shell can all reach damaging levels. Remember to protect yourself and the youngest ears to ensure everyone's hearing health.
4. 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 offered at city parks that are handled by professionals.
If you're out doing one of these activities, 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.