Everyday Activities That Could Harm Your Hearing

a man wearing yellow hearing protection while enjoying his hobby of woodcutting

Hearing is one of the most important senses as it helps us to connect with friends and loved ones. You use your sense of hearing at work, during your free time and when driving. Unfortunately, most people take their hearing for granted until it's too late. But did you know that some daily activities can harm your hearing ability and lead to hearing loss?

Noise

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, over 40 million adults have damaged hearing due to exposure to loud noise. Noise is measured in decibels, and when any sound goes above 85 decibels (dB) it can damage the tiny nerves and hairs in the inner ear that helps to transmit sound to the brain. However, the level of sound alone doesn’t cause damage to your hearing but the length of exposure.

Hunting

Hunting is a great outdoor activity that can also provide you with a meal. However, using a gun when hunting can harm your hearing. The average sound level recorded during gunfire is higher than 160dB, which can instantly damage your hearing. Therefore, always ensure that you wear proper hearing gear when handling a firearm.

Personal media devices

Most people spend several hours listening to music with headphones or earbuds. Can you remember a time when you turned up the volume to drown out background sounds? Listening to loud music can harm your hearing.

Your listening devices send sound directly to the ears, which can be dangerous if the sounds are very high. Headphones can produce sound levels that reach over 100dB. 

Always ensure that you’re listening at safe sound levels by keeping the volume of your personal device below 60%. Additionally, remember to take listening breaks to give your ears some time to recover from the sound.

Traffic and construction

People who commute to work every day are exposed to rattling engines, honking of horns and the racket of construction. Although this may now seem normal to you, exposure to these noises daily can cause hearing loss. Even though you cannot avoid traffic and construction, you can use foam earplugs to reduce sounds to 10-30dB so that you can still hear safely.

Public events

There are some activities that you may love to do that can harm your hearing. For example, going to concerts and nightclubs that have sound levels that reach over 100dB. Additionally, some sports events in stadiums can have sound levels that reach up to 100dB, which is enough to harm your hearing instantaneously.

Power tools

If you use power tools for a profession or as a hobby, they can make loud noises. Although OSHA has enforced some strict regulations in working environments, if you use these tools at home, you may not realize how much damage you may be inflicting to your ears.

Therefore, when doing your carpentry projects, mowing the lawn or blowing leaves out of your lawn, ensure that you always wear ear protection. Doing this will help to keep your hearing intact. You can use sound reducing earmuffs, which can protect your ears from the loud noise and still stay alert.

Motorcycle

Do you own a motorcycle? Riding is a fun recreational activity. However, while most people remember to buckle their helmets, they often forget to protect their ears. The average noise from a motorcycle is well over 90dB, with others producing noises over 100dB.

Such high levels of noise require ear protection. Apart from the engine noise, the following can cause hearing loss in motorcyclists:

  • Wind noise: The noise level from the wind when riding on city streets is relatively low. However, traveling at speeds of over 60 miles an hour on the highway can cause noise levels from wind more than 110dB. According to OSHA, exposure to noises that exceed 100dB can damage your hearing in just fifteen minutes.
  • Open ears: You rely on your helmet to protect your head in case of a crash. However, most helmets offer little to no protection from loud noises.
  • Tinnitus: Continued exposure to high levels of noise can cause your hearing to drop, a condition referred to as temporary threshold shift (TTS). Continuous exposure can cause tinnitus and eventually permanent hearing loss.

Protect your hearing

The first step to save your hearing is to learn more about the noise levels around you. You may also want to carry your earplugs in case you find yourself in a situation that can damage your hearing. If you have been exposed to the above hearing hazards, consider visiting an audiologist for a hearing test.

This way, you will know the status of your hearing health. Visit Affordable Audiology & Hearing for a hearing assessment or call us today at 920-232-4752 to request a hearing and listening demonstration.