Ten ways to protect your hearing at summer music festivals and in the garden this season
Spring and summer are among the noisiest seasons, in terms of potential hearing damage, according to Hidden Hearing.
Summer music festivals, plane journeys, and swimming, can all be hard on our ears.
But there are ways to protect your hearing through the summer season, audiologists say.
Wear ear protection when using power tools
For gardeners, power tools are hazardous to hearing health. Lawn mowers can have a sound above 90 decibels, and a power saw can exceed 110 decibels. Always wear proper ear protection when using them; it is sold where you buy your power tools!
Never stand next to loud speakers at a music venue
Take precautions including carrying earplugs and noise-dampening headphones, and never stand next to the loud speakers at a music venue. Break away from loud areas for at least 10 minutes every hour.
Up to one in three airline passengers suffer middle ear pain and a dullness of hearing on take-off or landing, due to changes in cabin pressure. For a comfortable trip suck on a sweet, yawn to keep your Eustachian tube open, stay hydrated and avoid falling asleep.
Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a common but painful ailment, so wear a swimming hat to cover your ears. Make sure ear canals are clear of water after swimming or showering by drying your ears with a towel or tilting your head to each side to allow water escape.
Resist putting anything in your ears to clean them. You risk an ear infection if you use cotton buds or fingers to clean ears; a gentle wipe with a soft cloth is fine. If concerned about wax build up, Hidden Hearing offers a free wax removal service.
Turn down the volume
Louder isn’t better. In fact, music sounds better at comfortable levels that don’t harm your ears. So turn down the volume on your TV, radio, mobile phone, iPod and car stereo now; your ears are keen machines and will adapt perfectly, protecting hearing for longer too.
The 60:60 rule
To enjoy music from your MP3 player or smart phone on the go, listen to the music at 60% of the maximum volume, for no more than 60 minutes a day.
You may not be able to avoid loud noises, but you can limit your exposure. If you have a noisy interest or hobby, give your ears a break by walking away from the noise for 10 minutes every hour at least. Even better, get ear plugs or hearing protection.
If you work in a noisy environment, above 85 dB, you should be issued with some form of hearing protection, which you must wear at all times, no matter how much you think you’re ‘used to’ the noise; you will damage your ears otherwise.
Construction work, road traffic, especially motorbikes, and airplanes can be noisy, so constantly working close to transport or construction may require use of ear buds that filter out loud noise but still allow you to hear.
Even if not in a traditionally noisy environment, talk to your manager or HR department for advice on reducing noise you are concerned about, like coffee machines or kitchen blenders, or about getting hearing protection.
To protect hearing and ward off hearing loss, get plenty of exercise. Walking, running or cycling helps to improve blood flow to your ears, which is good for hearing. Yoga poses especially help increase circulation and blood flow to the cochlea, the hearing organ in the inner ear.
And, if you do your exercise somewhere quiet, like the woods or a secluded beach, this gives your ears a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life too.
Hidden Hearing offers free over-50s testing in their 75 Hidden Hearing clinics countrywide.