Summer days, the music of cicadas in the trees, the gentle lapping of the surf at the shore, the squawking of seagulls at the beach, children running and playing outdoors in the sun. These are the sounds of summer. The season brings so much joy to the senses. But it’s also a time filled with outdoor events and loud noises which can pose a serious danger to your hearing.
The atmosphere, the roar of the crowd, mega-speakers and air horns. Live sports events can be fun, but also noisy. Sustained exposure to high volume sounds, especially such as those of engines speeding by at a car race, can result in both temporary and eventually permanent hearing damage.
Listening to your favourite band or musician play is a great fun, but the volume of the music through the speakers is often set at such high levels in order to blast sound to all corners of the venue. If you want to protect your hearing, you definitely don’t want to sit too close to the speakers at any event, especially at a concert.
Everyone loves fireworks. They’re colourful and they’re loud. While a good vantage point is important, when you’re choosing a spot to watch a fireworks celebration you should make sure you’re not too close for comfort. Fireworks can register up to 150 decibels and hearing loss can occur at levels over 85 decibels.
At the beach
Hop on in, the water’s lovely, but dry your ears after swim. Tilt your head to the side after a splash in the surf to drain any residual water from your ear canal so you can avoid getting ‘swimmer’s ear’. You can wear ear plugs while swimming, to keep the water out, and you should always check on the water quality as bacteria can affect your eardrums too.
In the garden
Because we’re outside a lot during the summer months we will expose our ears to lots of different noises like leave blowers and lawn mowers, electric saws and the like. It’s always best to wear protective earmuffs or ear buds when you’re working with loud machines.
Always make sure there is an acceptable distance between your group and the source of potentially damaging sound. When you know you’re going to be exposed to long periods of loud noise, it’s best to bring along a pair of small foam earplugs. If you have a hearing aid, you should take care to turn it down at noisy events. A pair of good, noise-cancelling headphones make for a good long-term investment if you know you’re going to be going to lots of events where your hearing could be damaged.