Many of us look forward to the fun, active and social events that fill our summer schedules.
Although we rejoice in getting outside after a long winter and cool spring, many warm weather activities can be hard on our hearing. Fortunately, taking some precautions allows us to both protect our hearing and enjoy all that summer has to offer.
Summer Hearing Safety
When you consider that sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can damage our hearing over prolonged exposure, it’s not difficult to understand that fireworks (up to 175 dB) and concerts (about 120 dB) can pose a problem to our hearing health.
The World Health Organization states that adults should not be exposed to fireworks louder than 140 dB (120 dB for children and no exposure for infants). To achieve these levels, people should stay at least 500 feet away from fireworks and wear proper ear protection (earplugs for adults and older children, earmuffs for younger children).
Many summer concerts are outside, which would be good for our hearing if bands wouldn’t tend to crank up the sound even louder to make up for the setting. Opt for the lawn section at amphitheater shows, further away from the blaring speakers. It’s a good idea to pack some earplugs as well.
Remember to wear hearing protection at other summer events or activities, such as baseball games (average 90 dB), yard work (up to 100 dB) and car races (up to 130 dB).
Hearing Aid Care
Moisture is a silent killer to hearing aids and their batteries, so taking steps in the summer to minimize the damage will help keep them functioning properly. Moisture can cause poor sound quality, lessened battery life and unreliable performance.
- Don’t sweat it: Sweat is one of the most common causes of moisture in hearing aids. Most hearing aids offer nano-coating, a special surface causing liquid to bead up. If safe to do so, remove your hearing aids when exercising.
- It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity: Humidity can cause moisture to build up in your hearing aids. Open the battery door at night to allow air to move through the unit and don’t store the hearing aids in humid spots such as glove boxes and car dashboards.
- Keep free of debris: Summer is full of potential hearing aid debris: sand, sunscreen sprays and allergens among them. Avoid touching your hearing aids when on the beach and remove them before spraying sunscreen. Clean hearing aids with a soft, dry cloth to remove allergens.
Barbecues and summer parties are great fun, but with the mix of voices and laughter, music and pool sounds, it can be challenging for those of us with hearing loss. Try the following:
- Select a spot: Try to sit away from noisemakers such as air conditioners, speakers and the pool. Sit with your back to the sun so that glare on people’s faces is minimal, aiding your ability to read lips.
- Adjust your settings: You may want to alter your hearing aid settings to optimize your ability to hear at an outdoor party, such as a setting that minimizes wind noise. If you have smartphone capabilities on your hearing aids, you can also use your phone as a microphone to stream the person’s voice directly to your ears.
- Be honest: It’s better for your relationships to admit that you’re having difficulty hearing the person rather than fake it, nodding and smiling to whatever they’re saying. Let them know you’re having trouble, so they can talk louder or position themselves differently.
To find out how Hearing Rehabilitation Center can help address your hearing loss, call 1.248.360.HEAR (4327) or contact us online for more information on services available at one of the Hearing Rehabilitation Center locations.