When the sun is out, the air is warm and there’s a cool breeze, it’s the perfect time to fire up the lawnmower and start working on the yard. However, if you’re not careful, you can cause irreversible damage to your ears. Follow our tips to protect your hearing this summer while you’re doing yard work.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Within the ears are tiny sensory hair cells called cilia. These cells are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical energy that then passes through the auditory nerve so the brain can interpret it as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it damages these essential cells, and once they die they do not regenerate. Permanent noise-induced hearing loss is the result.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, any sound over 85 dB can cause permanent damage over time. Lawnmowers, chainsaws and weed whackers register around 95-100 dB, meaning they can cause permanent damage in as little as 15 minutes.
Tips for Protecting Your Hearing
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to take care of your yard without hurting your ears. Try the following tips.
Wear Hearing Protection
The best thing you can do for your ears while doing yard work is wear hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs can be purchased inexpensively at the drug store and provide sufficient protection. You can also order custom hearing protection molded to the unique contours of your ears from an audiologist for maximum comfort and protection.
Forego the Music
It’s tempting to pop in earbuds and listen to music while you’re doing a monotonous chore like mowing the lawn, but this can be extremely dangerous for your ears. Not only are you exposed to the roar of the mower, but you’re also playing your music at maximum volume so you can hear it over the sound of the engine. If you must play music while you work, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones, which will block some sound from the mower while allowing you to listen more easily at a lower volume.
Give Your Ears a Break
Be sure to take breaks often to give your ears a rest. For example, instead of mowing the front and back yard all at once, take a lunch break in between. If you need to use the chainsaw and the edger, do one chore on Saturday and one on Sunday.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, call Hearing Health Centers today.