Tips for Keeping Ears Safe This Summer

It’s easy to forget about keeping your hearing safe when you’re in the midst of enjoying all kinds of summer activities. From fireworks displays to outdoor concerts, you’re probably not thinking about your ears much at all. But if you want to continue enjoying all the fun summer has to offer for years to come, we suggest reading and following these tips for protecting your hearing.

Fourth of July fireworks

Sounds of 85 decibels (dB) or louder can destroy the hair cells in your cochlea that facilitate hearing. Meanwhile, fireworks produce a sound output between 150 and 175 dB. We suggest you take the following actions:

Dial down the decibels

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most preventable contributing factor to hearing loss. Eight hours of exposure to 85 dB is the limit past which NIHL and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) typically occurs. Besides fireworks, you’re likely to spend a lot of time listening to sounds that far exceed that threshold, including rock concerts (avg. 140 dB), football stadiums (some have reached 136 dB), and auto races (avg. 160 dB). Here’s how you can reduce the risk of NIHL:

Swimmer’s ear

When contaminated water gets trapped in your ear it can cause an infection commonly known as swimmer’s ear. It usually affects the outer portions of the ear and is little more than an itchy nuisance. However, when left untreated, complications like a ruptured eardrum can result. Here’s how you can avoid swimmer’s ear this summer:

Play hard, but safe

Water-skiing, rock climbing, playing baseball — these and other adventurous activities are fun. However, they also increase your risk of injury, including concussions that can leave you with long-term hearing difficulties like tinnitus, hearing loss, loss of balance and vertigo. While you shouldn’t give up the activities you enjoy for fear of injury we do encourage you to play safely:

We also tend to have more free time to catch up on things like doctors’ appointments in the summer. If you already suspect you have hearing loss, now is the time to schedule that hearing test you’ve been putting off.