LiveSmart: Take Care to Protect Your Hearing this Summer

As New York state continues to slowly reopen, live music concerts are among the most highly-anticipated events coming back. And while new COVID-19 protocols will mean a changed experience for attendees, one safety measure should continue to be top-of-mind for everyone this summer – protect your hearing.

The pounding noise from concerts or constant use of headphones set too loud is an obvious source of hearing problems. However, repeated exposure to the sounds of summer can gradually cause hearing damage, as well. From lawnmowers and leaf blowers, to power tools, motorcycles and firearms, constant exposure to noise has the potential to destroy sensitive hair cells in your inner ear.

The red warning zone for hearing problems starts at 85 decibels, or the sound of heavy traffic. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels. A rock concert may reach 120; motorcycles, fireworks and small firearms can hit 150.

You may be developing a hearing problem if you have a vague sense of pressure in the ears, talk from others seems to be muffled, or you have a ringing that persists even in a quiet room.

To protect your hearing, ask these simple questions: How loud? How long? How close? And follow these tips:

  • If the person next to you can hear the sound out of your earphones: IT’S TOO LOUD!
  • Ditto if you must shout to be heard or if you can’t hear another person two feet away.
  • Wearing hearing protection is simple and effective. You can purchase foam plugs made for noise reduction and even keep a pair in the car to use at any time.
  • Protect the ears of young kids, even at outdoor summer block concerts. For those who don’t like the feel of the in-ear foam plugs, over-the-ear safety earmuffs are an option.

If you suspect you have a hearing problem or have a constant ringing in the ears, see your primary care physician and have a hearing test conducted by an audiologist.

The audiologists at St. Peter’s Health Partners provide comprehensive care from diagnosis to rehabilitation and are committed to working with other professionals to make sure hearing problems are reduced.

Evaluations include: universal hearing screenings for all newborns prior to discharge, pure tone testing, speech audiometry, middle ear analysis, electrophysiological tests, sound field testing, central auditory processing screening, hearing aid evaluations and tinnitus evaluations. We have special expertise in pediatric and difficult-to-test persons.

St. Peter’s Health Partners offers audiology services at locations throughout the Capital Region, including:

Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital – Schenectady
1270 Belmont Ave.
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 382-4550

Sunnyview Therapy Services at Latham Farms
579 Troy-Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
(518) 382-4593

Sunnyview Hearing Center – Guilderland
3757 Carman Road
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 356-3139

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