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Whether You’re 7 or 70, Hearing Protection Is a Must!

Outdoor adventures, music festivals, yard parties… these are all summer events that we look forward to all year! While soaking up the sunshine and reveling in summer fun, it’s important to remember to protect your hearing. From the youngest to the oldest among us, spending some time safeguarding our ears is crucial for maintaining a lifetime of good hearing. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why hearing protection matters at every age, and we’ll also recommend tailored solutions to keep your ears safe this summer.


The Importance of Hearing Protection

Summer brings sounds our way that are as wonderful as they are diverse. From the gentle lapping of ocean waves at the beach to the excited cheers of a crowd at a sports event, each soundscape is a thread that is eventually woven into an incredible blanket of summer. However, while you’re enjoying the sounds of summer, you can’t ignore the potential danger that lies in noise-induced hearing loss.

Data out of Canada informs us that, “The primary causes of permanent hearing loss are age and exposure to loud sounds.” It’s possible for everything from lawnmowers to fireworks to concerts to give us exposure to loud noises. Some of those noises are so dangerously loud that they can cause irreversible damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear and start us on the road to hearing loss.


Hearing Protection for All Ages

Hearing protection is not one-size-fits-all — you need to make a thoughtful plan to protect both small and big ears alike, catering to the unique needs of both. Hearing protection is like good nutrition — it’s a lifelong commitment that begins in childhood and extends into the adult years and beyond. Let’s explore the solutions available, tailored for each stage of life:


Hearing Protection for Children

Due to their developing auditory systems, babies and children are particularly vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss. Whether they’re attending a firework display or in the backyard while someone is using the lawnmower, it’s critical to protect their delicate ears. Talk to your local hearing professionals about the best plan for your child, but here is one recommended product:

  • Earmuffs, Especially for Babies and Kids:

Designed specifically for smaller heads, children’s earmuffs provide comfortable and effective protection in noisy environments. They’re especially helpful because they aren’t small and edible like earplugs, so they pose no choking hazard.

Look for adjustable bands and cushioned ear cups for a snug and secure fit. Some earmuffs for kids are sold in fun colors or animal-ear shapes that your child will be excited to wear!


Hearing Protection for Young Adults

Young adults often find themselves immersed in noisy environments, from music performances and festivals to sporting events. While enjoying the summer’s festivities, teaching them to respect and prioritize their hearing health is a life skill that will pay off in the years ahead. Your audiologist may recommend and offer products like these:

  1. Foam Earplugs:

Inexpensive and easy to find, foam earplugs are the starting point for just about anyone beginning to protect their ears. High schoolers may be lucky enough to find buckets of these provided by their school district in band classrooms, theater workshops, and other noisy areas. If not, they’re easy to obtain at any drugstore. The hard part is remembering to wear them!

  1. High-Fidelity Earplugs:

Traditional foam earplugs muffle sound, while high-fidelity earplugs preserve the clarity of music while reducing overall volume. You can find options with interchangeable filters to customize the level of protection based on the situation’s noise levels.


Hearing Protection for Older Adults

All of the previously mentioned types of hearing protection work for adults, but these options cost a little more, and folks may not want to invest in them until their ears have grown to full size and they’re certain about their career paths and hobbies.

  1. Custom Earplugs:

Molded earplugs tailored to your ears offer a personalized solution for long-term hearing protection. These soft and pliable plugs provide a comfortable seal against loud noises without causing discomfort. Your local hearing professional can fit you for custom-molded earplugs and typically deliver the finished product in a timely manner.

  1. Musicians’ Earplugs:

High-fidelity earplugs provide protection but do not adapt to changes in sound levels. A step beyond high-fidelity earplugs are earplugs for music lovers, designed with musicians and concertgoers in mind, and some are adaptive for different volumes. Musicians’ earplugs make room for sound to float evenly across frequencies, allowing for a balanced listening experience. These plugs are comfortable and therefore ideal for prolonged use during concerts and rehearsals, whether you’re playing or just listening.

  1. Hunters’ Ear Protection:

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level.”

Hunters benefit from any of the hearing protection listed above, but professional hunters seem to favor electronic protection. Investing in electronic hearing protection may be the best idea If you hunt with friends and rely on verbal communication. They use advanced technology to amplify soft sounds, such as conversation, while automatically dampening sudden, loud noises such as gunshots.


Hearing Protection for Your Golden Years

Often already dealing with age-related hearing loss, older adults may be even more susceptible to further damage from exposure to loud noises. In order to preserve their remaining hearing, seniors are recommended to invest in tailored hearing protection solutions. Best discussed with a professional audiologist, your current hearing health and lifestyle choices should come into play when deciding on hearing protection at this stage in your life. Here are some products often recommended to those of us who have been around the proverbial block:

  1. Noise-Canceling Headphones: In noisy environments, like a family picnic or a sports event, noise-canceling headphones will provide an extra layer. Through the reduction of ambient noise, these headphones allow seniors to enjoy clear audio without the attention-grabbing need to increase volume levels.
  2. Custom-molded earplugs: Offering a secure and comfortable fit for seniors with hearing aids or cochlear implants, custom-molded earplugs can be tailored to the unique shape of a person’s ear. That level of customization ensures maximum protection without leading to any irritating discomfort.


3 Tips for Everyday Summer Hearing Protection

Using appropriate hearing protection devices is key, but here are some additional, practical tips to safeguard your hearing this summer:

  • Pay attention to volume

Be mindful of the noise levels in which you find yourself and your loved ones. Find yourself raising your voice to be heard? Does sound seem distorted after leaving an amplified event? These are some ugly signs that you’ve just experienced dangerously high noise levels.

  • Give me a break
  • Taking periodic breaks from noisy environments will allow your ears to recover. Move away from speakers or noisy machinery, if only for a minute. Find a quieter spot to rest your hearing mechanisms.

    • Be a model of hearing mindfulness

    By modeling responsible listening behaviors, you’ll demonstrate the importance of protecting your hearing. Offer yourself up as a good example, and you’ll instill healthy hearing protection habits in young ears around you.


    A Safe and Sound Summer

    Enjoy the beautiful summer weather, but don’t overlook the importance of protecting your hearing. Your ears deserve care and attention, whether you’re a child seeing a soccer game with your parents, a teen attending your first music festival, or an older adult enjoying a hobby. Invest in quality hearing protection and adopt safe listening habits because the gift of hearing CAN last a lifetime.

    Take charge of your hearing health this summer and equip yourself with the appropriate hearing protection devices tailored to your age and lifestyle. Whether you’re visiting with family, hitting a concert, or exploring the outdoors — safeguard your ears with confidence.

    For personalized guidance on how to protect your hearing this summer, schedule a consultation with your local hearing professional. They can offer expert advice, recommend the best hearing protection solutions, and ensure your hearing health is top-notch for years to come. Don’t wait until it’s too late — prioritize your hearing health today and SAFELY enjoy all the sounds of summer.

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