You probably know that exposure to very loud noises can lead to hearing loss. However, based on what is commonly portrayed in the media, you may believe that this only happens in the case of very loud noises, such as an explosion or gunshot near the ear.
While these types of loud noises can indeed cause hearing loss, there are also other loud noises—and loud places—that you may be exposed to on a much more regular basis that can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. Here are a few loud places where you may need to be aware of the noise level and take steps to protect your hearing:
- Work: If you work in a loud environment, you may be exposed to loud noises that can lead to noise-induced hearing loss over time. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found hearing loss to be one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States.
Your hearing may be at risk if you work in a loud job like construction, manufacturing, or public transit. You may also be exposed to decibel levels that are too high for too long if you are a musician or work at concert and event venues.
- Restaurants and bars: You’ve probably been to a restaurant or bar that was simply too loud—where you had to nearly shout to talk to your dining companions. That level of noise in a restaurant is not only annoying; it’s also dangerous. If a restaurant or bar seems overly noisy, it is likely putting your hearing at risk.
If you want to check the noise level of any restaurants you frequent (or any that you are considering visiting), you can use the SoundPrint app to check noise levels.
- Your backyard: You may think the only side effect of yard work is some sore muscles, but your ears could be at risk, too. Lawn and home improvement equipment like lawnmowers, electric saws, leaf blowers, and hedge trimmers can expose you to noises up to 100 decibels (dB). And that can be dangerous for your hearing—especially if you use these tools often.
- Busy cities: You may love living in a busy city because you’re in the middle of the hustle and bustle. However, that hustle and bustle means lots of loud noises, like ambulance and police sirens, that are putting your hearing at risk. If you live or work in a city, you could be exposed to 60 to 110 dB of sound on a daily basis.
- Concerts: If you love attending concerts, you certainly aren’t alone! Unfortunately, these events can put your hearing at risk because of the loud levels of noise, which can last for several hours. When you combine a sound system with an enthusiastic crowd, you have the recipe for a fun time—but also for noise-induced hearing loss.
- Sporting events: Okay, so maybe attending a golf tournament or a tennis match won’t put your hearing at risk. But a louder sport—like a football, hockey, or soccer game—might. These sporting events tend to be quite loud from the noise of the crowd and the speaker systems.
The same goes for motorized sporting events, like monster truck shows, stock car or road races, and snowmobiling. Imagine the same noise from the crowd and the sound system, and then add on motorized vehicles and equipment. It’s a recipe for disaster for your hearing.
- Fitness classes: While some loud, peppy music with a strong beat might get you pumped up to exercise, it can also damage your hearing. Many fitness classes play music that is simply too loud to be safe for your hearing. Most fitness classes are an hour or longer, and you may attend more than once a week, which means you are frequently exposing your hearing to unsafe noise levels for long periods of time.
If you find yourself in any of these places or situations, be sure to take appropriate steps to protect your hearing. If you work in a loud environment, are doing yard work or home improvement projects, or are attending a loud event like a concert or sporting event, wear ear protection. If you go to a restaurant, bar, or fitness class where the music is too loud, ask a staff member if they can turn down the volume.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and take steps to protect your hearing. You’ll be glad you did!
If you have any questions about how you can better protect your hearing and prevent noise-induced hearing loss, we welcome you to contact our hearing professionals today.