5 Tips to Keep Your Ears Happy This Summer

NZH summer blog

Whether you’re heading to a music festival, getting ready to tackle the garden, or looking forward to hitting the waves this summer - it’s important to protect your hearing. Taking care of your ears and being mindful of your environment will go a long way in preventing conditions like noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), tinnitus, and swimmer’s ear. We’ve put together 5 tips to help avoid these issues, so you can make the most out of your time with friends and family this summer.

1. Use ear plugs or earmuffs at noisy events

Speakers and other sound equipment used at large events usually exceed the recommended decibel level, and can cause noise-induced hearing loss if you’re exposed for too long. Summer is also the perfect time to tend to the garden, but the noise from tools like lawnmowers, weed-wackers and hedge-trimmers can be equally damaging to your hearing.

Disposable ear plugs are usually made from foam or silicone, and are readily available from your local pharmacy. They’ll fit comfortably in your ear to reduce excessive noise, but will still allow you to hear music and conversations with loved ones. Earmuffs are a more heavy duty solution, perfect for work outdoors, and can be found at most hardware stores.

2. Limit your time in noisy environments

Do your best to limit the amount of time you spend in noisy environments, and ensure that you’re taking periodic breaks from loud noises. Generally, it’s a good idea to take a 10 minute break after 60 minutes of listening, or a 5 minute break every 30 minutes. Additionally, try not to stand too close to the source of noise - whether you’re at a music festival, fireworks display, or motorsport event, make sure you’re at a safe distance to protect your hearing.

3. Turn down the volume

As tempting as it is to turn up the volume when you’re listening to your favourite tunes, loud or repeated exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can be a risk to your hearing health. When you’re listening through headphones or earbuds, try to limit the volume to about 60% of the maximum setting. If you’re planning on heading away for a summer road trip, be sure to keep the volume in the car down to a safe level as well, considering how close you are to the speakers.

4. Avoid swimmer’s ear

Cooling down in the pool, or taking a dip at the beach is usually on the summer agenda for kiwi families - but swimmer’s ear can really put a damper on things. Otitis Externa, or swimmer’s ear, is an infection that is caused by water remaining in the ear, creating a warm and moist environment for bacteria to grow. This often happens after swimming or being in the water without taking the proper steps to protect the ears, and can cause pain and discomfort.

When you hop out of the water, take the time to tilt your head from side to side to drain any residual water, and thoroughly dry your ears. You can also get swimmer’s ear plugs to prevent water from getting in your ears to begin with - these are a great option if you plan on being in the water more often.

5. Visit us for custom-fitted hearing protection

If you spend a fair amount of time in noisy environments or in the water, custom-fitted hearing protection is another option to consider. We can provide individually crafted ear plugs from the exact impressions of your ears to ensure the best fit for you. These ear plugs can be made for swimming or surfing, concerts and music festivals, shooting and hunting sports, as well as noisy motorsport events, to reduce the risk of damaging your ears.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, get in touch with your local NZ Hearing clinic to find out more about custom-fitted ear plugs for your summer activities.

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