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 Summer Hearing Protection

Girl wearing headphones

​​It is summertime! That means that many families will be enjoying activities such as music concerts, amusement park adventures, fireworks and lawn and gardening projects. But beware; these activities can be dangerous to your family’s hearing. One in 10 Americans experiences hearing loss that affects his or her ability to understand normal speech. The good news is noise induced hearing loss is preventable. Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat Institute suggests the following precautions to take against harmful and excessive noises to help ensure that you hear sounds for a lifetime.

Summer Hearing Tips

  • Volume, Time and Location. As sound gets louder, the amount of listening time should be reduced. Prolonged exposure will damage hearing and may lead to ringing in the ears. Avoid listening to devices at full volume and take frequent breaks if doing so. If an option, choose outdoor venues versus indoor venues as sound levels tend to be lower in these environments.
  • Protect Ears. Protect your ears with disposable foam ear plugs or ear muffs, which can easily be kept in a backpack or handbag. Disposable ear plugs are inexpensive and can be found at drug or grocery stores while ear muffs can be found at sporting goods stores. For a custom fit product, consult with an audiologist. Custom hearing protection may be more beneficial if you are required or desire to use hearing protection for a long period of time. You may also consider amplified ear muffs, which can enhance a user’s ability to hear vital communication through safe amplified levels. Covering your ears with your hands, scarf or item of clothing will also help block any sudden noises when preventative measures are not within your immediate reach.
  • Children. Because the ear canal is smaller for children, the sound pressure that is generated in the ears is greater compared to an adult. In other words, loud sounds are even louder for kids. Providing hearing protection, especially at a young age, helps to ensure optimal hearing as your child grows.
  • Activities. Use ear plugs or ear muffs when exposed to noisy environments and when working in areas with excessive noise levels. Hearing protection should be worn when using power tools, mowing the lawn or attending a concert.
  • Fireworks and Concerts. Due to the immense loud pressure level, impact noises such as fireworks and gunfire can cause immediate physical damage to unprotected ears. At fireworks displays or events with loud impact noise, use hearing protection and sit farther away from where the noises occur.
  • Swimmer’s Ear. Swimmer’s ear is a painful condition that occurs when moisture trapped in the ear canal becomes infected. If water is stuck in the ear canal from a recent shower or swim, help drain the area by turning the side of the head down and gently pulling the earlobe in different directions. Ear plugs made specifically for swimming are also available.
  • ​Plane Travel. When the airplane rises in elevation, air pressure changes, causing ears to clog. Try alleviating congestion by moving areas of the face. Move the mouth in up and down motions, chew gum, yawn or try swallowing while the nose is pinched closed to help equalize the pressure. If you have chronic issues with pressure while flying, consult an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician.

If you or any family members experience pain, ringing or buzzing in the ears, decreased hearing or are having difficulty understanding speech after exposur​e to loud summer activities, you may consider having your hearing tested.