Wearing hearing protection whenever you’re exposed to loud noise can protect your hearing later in life. Noise exposure can occur during work, hobbies, or other recreational activities. In this blog post, we will share some of the most common hobbies that can lead to hearing loss.
Loud noises can damage the cells in the cochlea of the ear, and over time, these cells can die. Noise-induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent depending on the severity of the damage. Typically, the higher the volume, the faster the damage can occur. If you experience ringing in the ears after being exposed to loud noise, that’s a sign that some damage has occurred.
When you are at the shooting range, trap shooting, or hunting, you should always be wearing hearing protection. The sound of just one gunshot is enough to damage hearing. Sometimes shooters with experience “Shooter’s Ear,” which is a condition characterized by asymmetrical hearing loss. The ear closer to the gun will experience greater hearing loss than the other.
While hunting, many hunters prefer more advanced, electronic hearing protection. These options have the ability to filter out certain sounds while allowing others to be heard. For the hunter, this means that they can converse with their companions and hear footsteps while still filtering out the loud noises from the gunshots. Unfortunately, these options can come with a hefty price tag. If you don’t want to invest in advanced, custom hearing protection, you should still wear simple earplugs or earmuffs whenever you are around guns.
Whether you are a part of the band, or just enjoy watching live music, the decibel level at concerts often exceeds the safe threshold. Loud music at bars and clubs can also be playing at a level that is unsafe. Lastly, many people listen to music through headphones or earbuds that is too loud.
Westone offers custom hearing protection specifically intended for musicians. Music fans typically don’t need to invest in advanced hearing protection. Instead, they can protect their hearing by not standing directly in front of speakers at music venues and wearing simple earplugs. When listening to music through headphones, we recommend using noise-cancelling headphones that can reduce ambient background noise. This allows you to listen to music at lower volume levels.
The engine noise from a motorcycle (we’re especially looking at you Harley Davidson!) is enough to damage hearing. But, did you know that the wind noise experienced while riding can also damage hearing? Wearing a helmet is great for motorcycle safety, but it does not offer much protection for your ears.
One study found that riding a motorcycle at highway speeds for just one hour has the potential to cause permanent hearing loss. Disposable foam earplugs can easily be worn underneath a motorcycle helmet and can mean the difference between dangerous and safe levels of noise. Even with earplugs, you should still be able to hear the engine and any emergency vehicles nearby.
Many home improvement projects require the use of power tools. Tools such as circular saws or power drills are loud enough to damage hearing. Even if you are an amateur and only work on home improvement projects for a few hours each weekend, it would be wise to protect your ears while you work.
If you enjoy any of these activities, please consider protecting your hearing. Simple earplugs or earmuffs are inexpensive and offer enough protection for many activities. Some people require more advanced protection due to the frequency in which they partake in their favorite hobbies that can lead to hearing loss. For these people, custom hearing protection is available as an option. Please consult an audiologist if you are considering these more advanced options. They are great resources and can provide a comprehensive consultation to ensure that the chosen hearing protection is the right choice for the hobby.