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Five Autumn Activities That Wreck Your Hearing

Five Autumn Activities That Wreck Your Hearing
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By    |   Wednesday, 04 November 2015 10:56 AM

Falling leaves. Wood fires. Football games. Hunting. All are among the reasons that Autumn is a favorite season for many Americans. But they are also activities that can, at least indirectly, put you at risk for hearing loss.

The noise from leaf blowers, chainsaws, boisterous crowds, and guns can all exceed levels at which serious hearing damage can occur, warns Dr. Dave Fabry, an audiologist with the Starkey Hearing, whose charitable foundation distributes free hearing aids to thousands of people every year.

“Autumn provides an opportunity to make people more aware of risks to their hearing and ways to reduce those risks,” says Dr. Fabry, formerly with Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at the Mayo Clinic. “One of the most pervasive forms of disability in America is hearing loss, and the National Institutes for Health estimates that as many as 26 million Americans of working age suffer some degree of hearing loss.

“Much of that is owing to occupational and recreational causes and each fall. People undertake a wide variety of activities that accompany the change in season, many of which can lead to long term hearing loss.”

Health specialists generally recommend the use of hearing protection — including simple foam earplugs — for any activity that exceeds 80 decibels. Here are five that qualify:

Leaf blowers: A two-stroke gas-powered leaf blower can generate between 90 and 102 decibels of noise.

Chainsaws and wood chippers: Typical chainsaws and wood chippers can produce a volume of 100-110 decibels.

Wood splitters: A hydraulic log splitter can be a valuable tool, but the engine powering the machine’s hydraulics can reach 104 decibels.

Hunting trips: The crack of a rifle or shotgun can reach 150 decibels — a sound level that can cause pain and immediate damage to your hearing.

Football games: The boisterous enthusiasm of tens of thousands of fans can take a toll on your hearing, with peak levels in some stadiums exceeding 140 decibels.

“A simple and inexpensive set of foam earplugs can reduce your exposure to loud noises by 15 decibels to 30 decibels or more, and acoustic ear muffs or headphones will further reduce risks to your hearing,” Dr. Fabry notes. 

“As for recreational noise, football fans are increasingly being offered earplugs at large stadiums. Starkey Hearing Technologies, based in suburban Minneapolis, provides free earplugs to fans at every Minnesota Viking home game, and other NFL teams are following suit.”

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A handful of Autumn activities can, at least indirectly, put you at risk for hearing loss.
hearing, loss, noise, autumn, activities
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2015-56-04
Wednesday, 04 November 2015 10:56 AM
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