Maintaining a yard, and all the mowing, weeding, watering, fertilizing, and more, can take a lot of effort. It can also take a toll on your hearing. Lawnmowers, trimmers, chainsaws, and other machinery can expose you to dangerous noise levels and damage your hearing over time.
This type of hearing damage is known as noise-induced hearing loss and is thought to affect as many as 40 million adults in the U.S. It can be caused by a single exposure to a loud noise, or continuous exposure to sounds higher than 85 decibels (dB). Unfortunately, many of the tools used in your lawncare routine can exceed safe listening levels and contribute to noise-induced hearing loss.
So, how loud can your yard equipment get? Consider the sound levels of these common tools:
- Lawnmower – 90 dB
- Weed trimmer – 97 dB
- Leaf blower – 99 dB
- Hedge trimmer – 103 dB
- Chainsaw – 110 dB
Protecting against the noise
Given the excessive noise caused by your yard equipment, what can you do to protect your ears? If you’ve seen a landscaping crew, you may have noticed that they often wear large, brightly colored earmuffs over their ears. These durable earmuffs protect them from the loud sounds of their equipment and can also help protect your own ears when working on your yard. Still, if you don’t want to wear heavy equipment on your head, especially during hot and humid summer days, there are other options.
With custom hearing protection, reusable earplugs are molded to the unique shape of your ear canal, so they’ll always fit comfortably and create a perfect seal to protect against noise. Although disposable foam earplugs or reusable plastic earplugs don’t provide the highest levels of sound protection, they can still dampen the various noises of your equipment and help to protect your hearing.
Whether doing a touch-up trimming of your hedges or spending the whole day working on the yard, you may encounter dangerous noise levels. If you think you already have hearing loss caused by exposure to lawn equipment or any other noise source, only a licensed hearing care professional can properly evaluate your hearing. You can schedule an appointment to have your hearing checked and find out more about how to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss.