Summertime is finally here (despite the British weather) and, with the kids ready for their holidays, The Hearing Healthcare Practice in Harpenden has provided a few useful tips to protect all the family’s ears during the holidays.
“Summer can be tough on your ears!’ says Robert Beiny RHAD, FSHAA, MRSH. of the Hearing Healthcare Practice
There are four main areas of concern:
IT’S NOISY OUT THERE!
“Firstly, the fact that we’re all outside more often,” says Robert, “means that we’re exposed to more, potentially damaging loud noise.
Whether it’s mowing the lawn, attending an open air concert, fireworks or even visiting a fete, we need to be aware of the dangers. The noise from exploding fireworks can top 130 decibels – that’s enough to potentially cause permanent hearing damage.
Our advice is just to be sensible. Limit your exposure to loud noise, wear hearing protection and protect your children’s ears. Most rock musicians wear in-ear monitors when they’re playing so there’s absolutely nothing ‘un-cool’ about protecting your hearing”.
We’ve noticed more kids of famous musicians wearing hearing protection at festivals this year. Why not follow their example.
Many kids try to emulate their heroes and looking after your ears is a great place to start.
IT’S NOISY IN EAR!
This summer, countless listeners will be hotwired to their iPods and mp3 players as they laze on the beach, in the garden or while away the hours whilst travelling.
But, these popular music players, with their tiny, yet powerful, earphones can deliver extremely loud noise levels deep into the ear.
“I have no desire to be a killjoy, I do understand the appeal of loud entertainment” Robert explains, “but the number of younger people with hearing loss is dramatically increasing, and the culprit seems to be noise”.
The human ear was simply not designed for such powerful (and noisy) technology – sound systems, rock concerts and iPods.
The inner ear bristles with thousands of tiny cells that move in response to sound like blades of grass in a gentle breeze. Sounds 100 times softer than a whisper can set these ‘hair cells’ vibrating, sending signals to the brain. Louder sounds make bigger vibrations that can bend and break the hairs, which the body can’t repair or replace. The louder the sound, the faster it can cause permanent damage. A power lawn mower can cause mild damage in less than 15 minutes, a loud pair of headphones in seconds.
“So if it’s ‘too loud’, it doesn’t mean you’re ‘too old’, it means it’s TOO LOUD! Give yourself a break. Hearing damage is irreparable”.
IN THE WATER
Otitis Externa, or ‘Swimmers Ear’, is a common condition among people who go swimming at the beach. It occurs when water and humidity dissolve the protective earwax making the sensitive skin in the ear canal susceptible to bacteria and fungi. If you or your children like swimming, make sure that you give your ears several hours of breaks between swims.
“The risk of Swimmers Ear can be reduced by wearing inexpensive ear plugs and swimming hats that cover the ear can also help. If you’ve suffered from ear infections, had gromits fitted or the odd perforation, we recommend using custom-made anatomical water buoyant Catamaran© SwimMoulds which we can easily arrange for you.”
IN THE AIR
Just about everyone who has flown in an aircraft has felt their ears ‘plug up’ or ‘pop’ during take-off and landing. These sensations can become painful and even cause temporary hearing loss in people who fly with colds, allergies and sinus infections.
Ear problems related to flying rarely cause long term hearing damage and a few simple precautions can minimise discomfort. For most, chewing, swallowing or yawning during a plane’s take-off or landing is enough to relieve the feeling of a blocked ear. Remove headsets, mp3 players and earplugs before any change in the aircraft’s altitude.
Young children are especially vulnerable because their anatomy has not fully developed and they tend to more commonly suffer from colds. The best advice for young travellers is to suck on a boiled sweet or lollipop which triggers the swallowing reflex or for a baby to suckle from a bottle.
ARE YOUR EARS BURNING?
Most people are now aware of the harmful effects that over exposure to the sun can cause. Particularly with children, parents remember to protect their faces, but often don't realise that the top of the ears are very exposed and sensitive to the sun's harmful UV rays.
Whatever your age, the solution is simple. Don't forget to protect your ears! Use sun block protection cream and wear a hat that keeps them in the shade. Skin cancer can affect the ears too, and often does.
About the Hearing Heathcare Practice
The Hearing Healthcare Practice was formed in 1994 as a hearing aid and audiological centre of excellence.
As well as helping people to hear, the Practice provides individual and organisational guidance on hearing conservation.
Robert Beiny also acts as consultant to the music industry, advising many famous professional and amateur musicians on issues of hearing protection and healthcare.
The Practice's diverse client list covers all walks of life, from royalty to rock stars.