Yesterday marked the official beginning of summer! But we’ve already been hearing those warm-weather sounds. From lawn mowers to motorcycles to jet skis to outdoor concerts and fireworks, summer always has its own soundtrack.
Unfortunately, your summer soundtrack may contribute to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Sound is measured in decibels, and we know that a normal conversation (around 60 decibels) may continue indefinitely with little to no risk of hearing damage. But exposure to noises louder than 85 decibels for a longer period of time may put you at risk for hearing loss. And most people’s summer soundtrack is filled with such at-risk noises:
|Summer Soundtrack||Typical Level (in decibels)||Risk of hearing damage (in minutes)|
|Conversation||60 dB||Little risk over extended time|
|Lawn Mower||90 dB||8 hours|
|Jet Ski||115 dB||15 minutes|
|Outdoor rock concert||120 dB||7 minutes|
|Fireworks (depending on distance from explosion)||125-150 dB||Immediate|
Make sure you protect your ears so you can enjoy many more summer soundtracks, including whispers, chirping crickets and wind in trees—those less noisy but meaningful sounds. Always use ear protection when around noises louder than 85 dB or find ways to be around loud noises for as little time as possible.