We are now entering the dog days of summer. Of course, in Phoenix, it’s all relative – it’s almost always too hot for the family dog! It can also be too hot for your hearing. We’ve got tips to help prevent you from experiencing damage to your ears when the sun is blazing and the temperature soars into the triple digits.
Summertime Hearing Threats in Arizona
In Phoenix and across Arizona, the biggest threat to hearing during the hot summer months is noise. Sounds that are louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent damage to the sensory cells in your inner ear – and there are many sources of loud noise this time of year. Some of the most common ones include:
- Music. Concerts, festivals, and parades are plentiful during the summertime; the noise generated by instruments and broadcast through loudspeakers is more often than not well in excess of 85 dB.
- Fireworks. More fireworks are set off during the summer months than any other time of the year – and they’re not just confined to Independence Day. They often accompany Diamondback games and other sporting events. Speaking of…
- Sporting Events. Crowd noise is the biggest danger at baseball games and other summertime sporting events. Thousands of cheering fans stomping their feet are loud!
- Recreational Vehicles. Noisy vehicles popular during the summer months include boats, jet skis, motorcycles and more.
How to Protect Your Hearing
It may seem like summertime is downright dangerous, but there is a real easy way to prevent hearing loss from these activities: wear earplugs!
You can find an inexpensive pair of earplugs at pretty much any Phoenix area drugstore. Even disposable cheap plugs will help, but if you frequently participate in activities where loud noise is an issue, you might think about investing in a higher-quality pair of custom plugs designed from molds of your ear canals. Your Phoenix audiologist can help you out if you choose to go this route.
Noise isn’t the only summer hearing hazard you’ll contend with. Swimming can negatively impact your hearing if water becomes trapped in your ear canals; this can lead to infection and even temporary or permanent hearing loss if left untreated. Be especially cognizant of high bacterial counts in standing bodies of water; signs are frequently posted warning swimmers of these dangers. Your best bet, short of avoiding a cool dip entirely, is to wear swim plugs or a swim cap and to dry your ears thoroughly after any water exposure.
If you wear hearing aids, heat and humidity can cause problems. Leaving them in a hot car or exposing them to direct sunlight can lead to a literal meltdown and short-circuit the internal components. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when venturing out on sunny days – and carry an umbrella with you during monsoon season. Moisture from a sudden summer thunderstorm can be just as hazardous to your aids.
For more summer hearing protection tips, reach out to your Phoenix audiologist.