While being fun, going to major events on weekends can have its downsides. Many people are unaware of the effects that some of these events may have on their hearing. In fact,the numbers of those affected by hearing loss is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Realizing sooner rather than later how to prevent hearing loss and breaking the stigma behind using ear protection in public events is imperative to our future generations. While there are many public events that you normally wouldn’t think to use hearing protection, here’s just a few of the most popular events that warrant the use of some form of hearing protection:
1. Sports Games
Sports games are known for being loud and rambunctious. With fans screaming to cheer for their team, whistles blowing throughout the game, and giant speakers blasting out music in between plays or communicating referee calls; sport games can become a hazard to our hearing. Using foam earplugs is a great option for hearing protection at sporting events. They’re inexpensive and work great for one-time use.
2. Shooting Range
Some shooting ranges (whether it be outdoor or indoor) do provide earmuffs for protection, however only using earmuffs may not be the best option for ultimate protection. In fact, some avid recreational shooters use foam earplugs inside of their ear muffs which would provide maximum protection. There’s also a more durable, long-lasting option for hearing protection specifically made for ardent shooters called shooter plugs. At Cook Hearing and Balance we actually offer this service of creating custom molds of the wearer’s ear to protect their hearing from the gun sounds.
Gun sounds can range and vary depending on which gun you choose to shoot. For instance, a .22 caliber rifle can emit sounds of around 140 dB while big-bore rifles and pistols can emit sounds of over 175 dB. Exposure to noise levels above 140 dB can cause permanent hearing loss, so using the proper hearing protection is important. At Cook Hearing and Balance we actually offer custom made shooter plugs!
3. Concerts or Music Festivals
While this may be an obvious one, you’d be surprised how many concert-goers don’t use hearing protection. Even if you’re standing or sitting far from the front stage, some form of hearing protection is recommended.
A study was done by the Journal of the American Medical Association that tested the effects of wearing earplugs while at a concert. The findings stated that those participants who wore earplugs had reduced postconcert threshold shifts. This means that the use of earplugs were effective to some extent. While there still needs to be further research done to determine the full scope of protection that protection earplugs can offer during music concerts, this study is sufficient in supporting the claim that foam earplugs do help protect your hearing.
Remember to Use Protection
While attending these events may be entertaining, what’s even better is to take part in them safely using ear protection. Your hearing is delicate and needs to be protected. If you or a loved one has opted out of ear protection for an extended period of time in any of the above events, we invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced audiologists.