You wouldn’t purposely eat toxic food, so don’t consume loud toxic sounds this summer and keep your hearing healthy, urges Audiologist Dr. Susan Rogan, who practices in Westmont and LaGrange Park.
While summer is the season of outdoor concerts and music festivals, Rogan advises music lovers to listen responsibly to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
Extremely loud sounds, even for a short period of time, can cause permanent hearing loss to the delicate inner ear, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD).
Noise-induced hearing loss can occur suddenly or develop slowly over time. The NIDCD says it may be temporary or permanent, and can affect one or both ears. “Even if you can’t tell you’re damaging your hearing, you may later have trouble hearing conversations, especially on the telephone or in a noisy room.”
Measured in decibels, sounds less than 75 are unlikely to cause hearing loss. But exposure to sounds more than 85 may. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels, while a siren, or rock concert, can measure more than 120 decibels.
To protect your hearing at loud concerts, experts advise wearing disposable earplugs, which are inexpensive and widely available. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) studied concert attendees in Amsterdam who attended a 100-decibel outdoor music festival for 4.5 hours. JAMA’s findings revealed “earplugs are effective in preventing temporary hearing loss during high recreational music levels. The use of earplugs should be actively promoted to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.”
Other suggestions: Keep a reasonable distance from the source of the sound and speakers, and limit the length of time you’re exposed to it. “Avoid noises that are too loud, too close, or too long,” advises the NIDCD.