June is here and that means baseball season is well on its way. There really is nothing quite like the trill of the game in a stadium. It’s the cheer of the crowds, the peanuts and cracker jacks, triumphant music to amp up fans and the thrill of a home run! Whether it’s you and your friends or bringing your family along, experiences like this build memories that will last for years, However, while you are at it, it is important to make sure that you don’t end up with hearing damage for you or your family that will also last a lifetime! Here are some tips to protect your hearing, the next time you go to the game.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
The crowd cheers as your team hits a home run, and the announcer booms over the loudspeaker. The marching band swells over the cacophony and “we will rock you” blasts as fans enthusiastically stomp in rhythm. Baseball games are exciting, but they can get loud really fast—so loud that it could damage your hearing for a lifetime. While hearing loss is considered a condition which only affects the 60 + crowd, in truth it can affect anyone of any age. The biggest factor increasing the risk of hearing loss for younger generations is noise induced hearing loss. In fact, the World Health Organization projects that worldwide, 1.1 billion people between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk of hearing damage from entertainment venues including stadiums and sports arenas.
Dangerous Decibels at the Stadium
Whether you are at a major league event or a hometown game, the decibels at your next baseball game can reach levels that can be loud enough to damage your hearing for life. Decibels (dBA) are a measurement of sound pressure—also known as loudness or volume. When the sound pressure becomes too severe it can create vibrations loud enough to damage the tiny cells of the inner ear which transmit sound from the ears to the brain. When these cells are damaged, they cannot regenerate, inhibiting some degree of sound from reaching the brain and causing a lasting depletion of hearing loss.
Sounds above 85 dBA for eight hours can damage your hearing, however as the sound pressure increases, the time it takes for damage to occur becomes shorter rather fast. For every increase of three decibels past 85 dBA, the exposure time is cut in half. For instance at 88 dBA, it only takes 4 hours and at 91 dBA it only takes two hours for sounds to cause permanent hearing loss. To things in perspective, past crowd noises at large professional sporting events have been recorded as exceeding 100 decibels – loud enough to cause damage in 15 minutes or less!
Protecting Your Hearing
You can still enjoy a baseball or another sporting event you love. It is just important to be prepared and practice safe listening habits. Here are some tips:
Wear ear protection
foam earplugs, custom fitted hearing protection or protective earmuffs. These noise dampening earwear can reduce decibel levels to your inner ear by 15-33 dBA. In many instances this is all you need to reduce the risk of hearing loss.
Try noise-canceling headphones
For sounds that surpass 100 dBA, sometimes standard hearing protection just won’t cut it. However, active noise canceling headphones can let quieter sounds in while electronicly canceling out dangerous decibels which could damage hearing in minuets or even seconds. These are a great investment for anyone who finds themselves in loud places often.
The longer you listen, the more at risk you are. If you feel you have to yell to speak to someone three feet away or less than it’s loud enough to damage your hearing. However, by stepping away from loud noise every 15 the 30 minuets can give your ears a break and prevent hearing loss.
Schedule a Hearing Exam
Years of enjoying baseball and other sporting events build memories you and your family will remember forever. However, if you are concerned that you or someone you love is struggling with a hearing loss it’s best to diagnose and treat it right away. To find out more, contact us to schedule a hearing exam today.