Now that spring is here and you’re spending more time enjoying the outdoors and
other recreational activities, ensure these sources of rural noise pollution don’t
damage your hearing health.
It’s no secret that tractors and plows are noisy, but did you know the sounds they
produce are loud enough to damage your hearing? Depending on the model, tractors
can produce continuous noise between 100 and 110 decibels (dB), which is
considered unsafe for hearing health. Chain saws, leaf blowers, and snowblowers
produce sounds between 106 and 115 dB, so always wear hearing protection when
operating these types of equipment.
A rooster can crow at around the same decibel level as a barking dog: between 85
and 95 dB. While that may not seem dangerously loud, prolonged exposure can
damage hearing, often without you noticing until it is too late. Additionally, horses
and pigs can also produce sounds within that range (typically when distressed), so
be aware of your surroundings when working with livestock.
One of the most pleasant aspects of springtime is the soothing sound of a hard
spring rain. Unfortunately, some areas experience violent storms, which can create
unsafe levels of noise pollution. A thunderclap is usually around 120 dB. That is 10
times louder than a garbage truck or a pneumatic jackhammer drill. From far away,
it won’t have an effect on your hearing, but up close it can cause temporary deafness
or even rupture the ear’s tympanic membrane.
The sheer volume of a firing gun combined with the shooter’s proximity to the
sound make hearing protection during target practice and hunting an absolute must.
At decibel levels between 140 and 150, firearms are sources of high-impact blasts
and can hurt your hearing with just one exposure.
Excessive noise not only damages hearing but impacts total body health
cumulatively. Adults who live and work in noisy environments exhibit higher
incidences of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. It is
important to protect your hearing as an integral approach to a healthy lifestyle.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Hearing
1. Earplugs: Look for flanges that limit the volume while still allowing for clear
hearing of speech. Foam or silicone construction is best for earplugs because
it reduces additional decibels.
2. Earmuffs: Look for soft, padded ear cups with a slim headband so the
earmuffs will stay in place comfortably. Those soft ear cups will help air
circulation over the ear to keep your head cool. You can even find foldable,
easy-to-carry earmuffs as well as reflective ones.
3. Musicians’ earplugs: These earplugs are attenuated for accurate replication
of sound for musicians, as the fidelity of the original sound is preserved.
Sound quality is clearer and more natural, and listening fatigue due to noise
exposure is reduced.
Contact us for a preventive hearing screening and more information on
our protection products.