With summer in full swing, it is a good time to talk about how to protect your ears from noise exposure. Did you know that repeated exposure to sounds at 85 decibels or higher can damage your hearing? Here are some examples of the decibel levels of common noises from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

  • 40 dB – a quiet room
  • 60 dB – typical conversation, dishwasher or clothes dryer
  • 91 dB – gas lawn mower
  • 94 dB – hair dryer or kitchen blender
  • 106 dB – gas leaf blower
  • 112 dB – rock concert
  • 130+ dB – jackhammer, firecracker

Learning how to protect your ears is important to maintaining good hearing health as you age. First recognize the signs that a noise is too loud:

  • Can you hear or understand the people around you?
  • Do you have to raise your voice?
  • Do you have pain or ringing in your ears or are sounds muffled after you leave a noisy situation

Next, know how to protect your ears, ear protection can be as easy and inexpensive as throwing a pair of ear plugs in your pocket or purse when heading out to a concert or sporting event. If you are exposed to loud noises frequently you may want to look into custom ear protection such as ear molds. If you are a musician or avid hunter, there is also ear protection products designed specifically for those uses. When choosing ear protection understand the noise reduction rating for the device and ensure that you get a proper fit for maximum protection.

Finally, make hearing health a habit and priority. Get in the habit of recognizing noisy situations, listening at safe volume levels with earbuds and headphones and using hearing protection when it is needed. See an audiologist to establish a hearing health baseline so you can monitor as you age.

Protecting your ears helps you hear better longer so you can enjoy life more.