Why it’s important to keep your hearing safe

From lawn mowers to power tools, summer is the season for noisy equipment. There is certainly a lot to consider when you begin home improvements, but how often do you think about protecting your hearing?

You may assume the ringing sensation in your ears after using loud equipment is just an annoyance that will fade with time, but that is not always the case. Not only is it an indication you have come into contact with dangerous noise levels, it could also be a condition that lasts much longer than a minute or two.

Loud noise has the ability to harm your eardrum or your ear’s hair cells, which can lead to noise-induced hearing loss and/or constant tinnitus. Tinnitus is the perception of a ringing or buzzing sound even when the sound is not actually present. This can be permanent or temporary, but there is no known cure.

Hearing loss or tinnitus can occur after exposure to noise above 85 decibels, and the sound made by common tools often exceeds this. Many tools reach about 90 to 115 decibels, which can cause damage in a short amount of time. Even using a loud power tool for a few minutes without hearing protection could leave you with permanent hearing damage.

It is always good practice to wear hearing protection when using most tools. Even if they are not high-powered devices, they can easily reach above 85 decibels. Luckily, hearing protection is easy to find and won’t break your budget. Disposable foam earplugs are inexpensive and can be found at most pharmacies and hardware stores. For more heavy-duty protection, you can use silicone earplugs or noise-canceling earmuffs. These devices vary in the amount of noise they reduce, so make sure you are using ones appropriate for your needs.

Keep your ears safe and pick up some hearing protection next time you make a trip to the hardware store. Your ears will thank you!

Want to know more about your hearing? Check out EarQ.com for more hearing health education and hearing care providers in your area.

Having a healthy auditory environment is important. The LEED v4 Building Design and Construction: New Construction requirements include an acoustic performance credit. Standards on HVAC background noise, sound isolation, reverberation time and sound reinforcement and masking are included.