We often think we are pushing the boundaries and getting a harmless thrill without realizing we have stepped over the line. You might pay now, you probably will pay later or both! There are many activities that can lead to hearing loss. Here are a few:
When people think of the dangers of motorcycling, they often think of crashes or the ever-present debate about whether or not it should be illegal to ride without a helmet. What doesn't occur to them is the potential for hearing loss. Although their volume may help you be more visible to other drivers, these loud machines can really damage your ears, and it's not just the sound of the bike that can be damaging. When you're ripping along the road at anything higher than 40 miles per hour, you risk hearing damage because of the wind noise alone, according to Motorcycle.com. The best way to reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss caused by motorcycling is to wear both earplugs and a helmet. By the way, driving in your sporty convertible or just with the windows rolled down in a regular car has the same risk when you're traveling at highway speeds.
Exposure to fireworks
Even professional fireworks displays can be risky if you are too close. While bottle rockets and cherry bombs can be thrilling, they might cause serious hearing damage. Their loud sounds may lead to noise-induced hearing loss and the physical explosion can also cause damage to your ear and the tiny parts inside of it that help you hear. If you are around fireworks, wear ear plugs and keep at a safe distance when they are firing off. You may not feel the hearing loss right away, but all those roman candles and bottle rockets can add up over time. There are some quieter options that still offer pretty lights and colors, like sparklers and smoke bombs.
Hunting or recreational firearm use
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a .22 caliber rifle can produce a noise of 140 dB, which is akin to the range where noise exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. Not only is the noise coming out of the gun dangerous, the reverberation off walls or other solid structures can intensify the noises, increasing your risk of developing hearing loss.
If you go hunting or use firearms for recreational purposes, always wear protective headgear such as in-ear plugs or a noise-cancelling headset.
Sticking your fingers in your ears is not enough to protect your hearing from the loud sounds that firearms make.
People who use guns are more likely to have difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, and they often suffer more hearing loss in the ear that is next to the muzzle of the gun (the right ear in left-handed shooters, the left ear in right-handed shooters). Wearing protective hearing gear will prevent you from developing hearing loss.
If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, the audiologists and hearing health care professionals at AccuQuest can help. Contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test and consultation.
If you want to learn more about how your hearing works, hearing loss and hearing aids, how hearing aids work or why it is a good idea to see an audiologist or hearing health care professional, click here to view and download your own copy of AccuQuest's Journey to Better Hearing.