We all love summer. Picnics, baseball, swimming, boating, hiking, bike rides, and, best of all, summer concerts in the park or at the shore! Music outdoors is just special! But there is a catch to everything. Many of the activities we love present sound at levels that are potentially hazardous.
Some people falsely believe that if the sound is outside, it will not be dangerous. Excessively loud sound is hazardous both indoors and out if it exceeds 90 dB for a period of time. Measurements of some concerts indicate that sound frequently exceeds 120 dB, well within the danger zone.
There are many ways to reduce the risk of noise damage, all require the use of ear protection. For music lovers, there are custom made musician plugs. Designed to protect the listener from excessive sound; these plugs do so without distorting the music.
In many ways, they are to ‘loud sound’ what sunglasses are to ‘bright light’. Different attenuators are available for different sound venues. Softer acoustic music may require a 15 dB filter while louder electric music may need a 25 dB filter. Since these are custom made, they last for 2-5 years and are very cost effective for frequent concert lovers.
A less costly ear plug is available that can be custom made to fit your ear. Unfortunately, without the musicians’ filters these earplugs distort music and are not always acceptable to music lovers. But they are very effective for other loud sound sources like lawnmowers, ball games, motorcycling, jet ski’s etc.
Disposable wax or foam earplugs are available in most drug stores and sport equipment outlets. They are inexpensive and, when used correctly, provide 20-29 dB of protection. The catch is “when used correctly” They need to be seated deeply into the ear and remain in that position throughout the concert. They seem easy and convenient, but can be hard to handle and become ineffective.
Earmuffs provide excellent sound protection. People participating in firearm target practice, operating leaf blowers, and riding mowers will benefit from muffs. They become the most effective means of ear protection when combined with either custom or disposable earplugs.
If you experience any problems with your hearing this summer, call Associates in Hearing HealthCare at (856) 266-9590. We offer a complimentary consultation so you can quickly improve your quality of life.
Visit our Barrington, NJ, or Marlton, NJ, office today and see why we’re the best audiologists in South Jersey!