Summer Can Be Hard on Your Hearing


SATURDAY, July 13, 2019 — Some of the sounds of summer can pose a serious threat to your hearing.

Outdoor concerts, fireworks, thunder, and lawn and garden equipment are among the things that trigger hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology warns.

“Many summer activities are noisy and can result in hearing damage,” said Lisa Christensen, president of the academy and audiology program manager for Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The inner ear contains delicate hair cells which do not regrow,” she explained in an academy news release. “Once these are damaged by noise, the result is permanent hearing impairment. It’s important for people to use hearing protection when riding all-terrain vehicles, shooting firearms, using power equipment and tools, and attending large sporting events and concerts.”

Noise above 85 decibels can damage hearing, and noise over 120 decibels can cause immediate harm to hearing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Noise from fireworks can reach 155 decibels, a jet plane taking off is 150 decibels, shooting a gun is 140-175 decibels, depending on the gun, and a clap of thunder can be 120 decibels.

It’s not just the decibel level that matters. The amount of time exposed to a noise also affects the level of risk. Spending a lot of time using a loud riding mower, a chain saw, a weed trimmer, leaf blower or other equipment may cause hearing loss, the academy said.

“Children are often exposed to the same noises as adults in the summertime,” Christensen added. “Parents need to make sure to teach them to stand back from loud noises and to protect their ears.”

Outdoor activities aren’t the only source of damaging noise in the summer, the academy noted. Many children and adults spend longer amounts of time in the summer listening to music using earbuds. Stock earbuds can produce sounds from 80 to 125 decibels.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Hearing Loss and Other Communication Disorders has more about noise-induced hearing loss.

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Posted: July 2019