The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for “June gloom,” but eventually the sun will break out and Eugene residents will be celebrating glorious summer weather. Warmer temperatures mean more outdoor activities – but also more health risks. Next time you venture out, make sure you carry more than just sunscreen to keep you safe.
Noise represents a major health risk during the warm summer months. In fact, it’s responsible for more cases of hearing loss in Eugene than any other factor – even age. Around 10 million Americans develop noise-induced hearing loss, young and old alike. It’s especially common in the summer months, when people are more active. Top causes of noise-induced hearing loss in Eugene during the summer include:
- Sporting events (baseball, rodeos, etc.)
- Recreational motorized activities (boats, jet skis, motorcycles)
- Mowing the lawn
What Can I Do To Protect My Hearing?
The good news? Hearing loss caused by noise is easily preventable. Earplugs are a must whenever you are going to be participating in an activity in which loud noise is likely. While regular foam earplugs you can purchase from any Eugene drugstore provide adequate protection, if you attend a lot of noisy events you might want to consider investing in custom plugs made from impressions of your ear canals. These offer a perfect fit uniquely contoured to your ears and better overall protection. Your Eugene audiologist is happy to create custom molds of your ears and make you a pair.
Other tips for protecting your ears this summer include:
- Enjoy fireworks from a distance. They generate decibel levels exceeding 150 dB – loud enough to cause instant, permanent damage. In addition to the potential for hearing loss, setting off fireworks yourself increases your risk of serious injury. It’s best to leave fireworks displays to the professionals.
- Don’t go swimming when bacteria counts are high. These can cause infection and, if untreated, eventually lead to hearing loss. Most lakes and ponds post signs when unusually high bacterial counts have been detected, so take heed and stick to the YMCA when you see them.
- Wear swim plugs whenever you come into contact with water. They prevent water from entering your ear canals, lowering your chances of developing a painful infection called swimmer’s ear. Be sure to thoroughly dry your ears after exposure to any water source – this includes the shower.
- Hearing aid users should take steps to protect their devices from heat and humidity, which may be prevalent during the summer months. A dehumidifier will remove moisture and can help keep your hearing aids working optimally. If you’re caught outside in a sudden downpour, use an umbrella (yes, we know this is frowned upon in Oregon – get over it!) or take them out of your ears until the storm passes.
Your audiologist in Eugene can help out with additional tips for protecting your hearing this summer.