Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss. Excessively loud noises, especially over prolonged periods of time, can cause serious and lasting damage to your hearing. Summer means getting outside, mowing the lawn, and trimming the hedges, but yardwork can be potentially dangerous to your hearing. Keep reading for some tips for avoiding noise-induced hearing loss in the summer!
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is often associated with occupational hearing loss, or hearing loss that occurs in the workplace. Many people who suffer from noise-induced hearing loss can trace it back to noisy workplaces, such as factories, farms, construction sights, or aircraft hangers (or arenas, if you’re a rock star).
Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and cannot be reversed, but it can be treated. Hearing aids are the most popular mode of treatment, and most people with noise-induced hearing loss start to notice the problem in middle age.
Noise-induced hearing loss is not just a problem at work, though. Exposure to any loud noise for too long can do serious damage to your hearing. Lawn mowers, chainsaws, and weed trimmers all register around 95-100 dB, meaning exposure to these machines for more than 15 minutes can lead to hearing loss!
How to Avoid Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Of course, you can’t give up all your chores and activities to avoid hearing loss; that lawn is not going to mow itself! The best thing to do is to prevent hearing loss from starting and there are several ways to do this:
- Ear protection is essential when using loud machinery to do yardwork. Earmuffs are not just for when winter comes around—there are special earmuffs that are specifically for ear protection. There are many inexpensive options on the internet for protective earmuffs that you can buy, and they do a great job of protecting your ears while you’re on the lawn mower or using a chainsaw.
- Another way to avoid noise-induced hearing loss while doing yardwork is to forget the iPod! Yardwork can be dull and many people choose to listen to music while they are working, but this is dangerous—you most likely have the volume turned all the way up while you’re using loud machinery and thus further damaging your ears. Earbuds feed noise directly into your sensitive ears and this can cause some serious hearing damage.
- Break up your yardwork sessions to give your ears a chance to rest. Instead of mowing the front and back yards all at once, take a lunch break or do it on different days. Spread out your yardwork during a weekend or a week to let your ears readjust to normal listening levels and avoid assaulting them with an hours-long barrage of noise.
- Make the switch to electric machines, if possible. Gas mowers, chainsaws, and trimmers are all much louder than electric. If your equipment is old and you’re looking to upgrade, seriously consider buying electric instead of gas. You’ll be saving your ears and the environment!