School's out and summer's here! You will be going to lots of graduation parties, recitals, concerts, ballgames, and many other events. However, the noise caused by these events can severely damage your hearing. Strong noises can cause TTS (temporary threshold shift) and even PTS (permanent threshold shift). These shifts are temporary and permanent hearing loss. A decibel is a unit of measurement for sound. To gain more insight, EarQ.com states that “the higher the decibel level, the louder the noise”. For example, the noise in sporting stadiums can reach around 110-120 decibels (dB). You can compare this to 60 dB which is the level of sound at which a normal conversation is held. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, states that in order to receive a form of hearing loss, temporary or permanent, it only takes about 7 ½ minutes at 120 dB. So what can you do to prevent this? Here are some tips you can use in rowdy arenas and stadiums:

Wearing foam earplugs:

Foam plugs can reduce the outside noise depending on the material and how well it fits in your ear canal. Even if the foam plug reduces the noise by 10 dB, that is still a significant decrease in the amount of damage done to your ears. Earlier, I mentioned that being exposed to 120 dB for 7 ½ minutes can cause temporary and permanent damage to your ears. By using foam earplugs, it decreases the amount of damage by lowering 120 dB to 110 dB, which in turn increases the time from 7 ½ minutes to 30 minutes.

Wearing reusable earplug or earphones:

The reusable earplugs offer more protection for the user in comparison to foam earplugs. The amount of dB protection for your ears is greater. A reusable earplug protecting 20 dB of hearing can reduce the noise in an arena that is 120 dB to 100 dB. Now, you can withstand the noise for 2 hours before having TTS or PTS.

Getting seats away from monitors or speakers:

Picking a seat can be crucial because you have the ability to pick a “good” seat. In this case, a good seat is one that is not by a speaker or wall. I understand that it is hard to pick from a 3D map, so get to the know the setting where you are buying tickets. Sitting near a speaker is obviously a bad idea due to the fact that it will be extra loud. On the other hand, people do not realize that sitting near a wall can also be harmful. The sound waves bounce off the wall and have no choice but to hit you again. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right seat.

The next time you are at a large, noisy event, remember these tips so you can enjoy yourself during and after the event!

 

Sources:

http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearinginternational/2013/sports-stadium-noise/

https://www.earq.com/hearing-loss/decibels

http://www.hearnet.com/at_risk/risk_aboutloss.shtml

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