The most common way of acquiring hearing loss is by exposure to noise. This noise can be a part of one’s working environment, as well as their general surrounding. For example, a ground crew member may be exposed to a more significant amount of noise than a person living next to an airport, but they are both still affected by having planes fly low over their heads. Furthermore, the noise can occur through the set of enjoyable activities, which have nothing to do with work, the ones we love and cherish, our hobbies. We will use this opportunity to glance at some of the noisiest common hobbies.
Music as a hobby comes in many forms, you can be an amateur musician, or you can spend a lot of time listening to music. Modern speaker and headphone manufacturers are competing by improving the quality of the sound as well as the power of the devices. People tend to use these perks by listening to loud music in their homes, clubs, concerts and even while they commute. Apart from the actual decibel levels, another important contributor is the period of exposure to such loud noise. We can safely say that what appears to be the most naïve approach to this hobby, may cause the most damage. The commuters are exposed to the traffic noise and they usually have to set the volume of their music up in order to be able to hear it. The two combined, lead to inevitable hearing loss, particularly when we know that this is done for at least a couple of hours daily.
Woodcraft or woodwork, as well as any other DIY hobby, can significantly impact one’s hearing due the noise exposure from the power tools included in the process. If you do most of the things by using manual tools, then you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you are using power tools for your hobby, you need to be aware of the potential consequences and the noise level the tools make. Most of the noisiest tools include different saws. Check out the specifications and use hearing protection for everything louder than 90dB. Hearing protection is not something which should be imposed by employers, but something that people will want to wear to protect themselves. With the noise of 90dB, one would need to spend 8 hours daily exposed to it. With the 110dB, only about first 90 secs are entirely safe.
Motorcycling and other vehicle-related sports and events
If you own a motorcycle, remember how crucial it is to have a good helmet. It can, not only protect your life, but also reduce damage done to your hearing. At the average speed limit, a driver is exposed to about 90dB of noise. This increases significantly as the speed increases, or with the absence of the helmet. Furthermore, a similar type of noise caused by powerful engines can be found at various events. If you enjoy formula 1, monster trucks, NASCAR events, you may be exposed to more noise than you bargained for.
Even though hunting by rule involves spending time in nature, it is impossible to say that it is completely relaxing and safe. The firearms used can lead to numerous accidents and injuries, including the injury done to your hearing. Even though you do not fire your gun or rifle as much as you do on a shooting range, the noise level is still significant enough that it only takes a shot or two for it to damage the hearing. Rifles and guns have noise levels which all exceed 140dB. While hearing protection is certainly recommended, this level of noise is still significant even when reduced by the hearing protection.
Similarly, to the concert audience or those watching the races, people visiting games and supporting their team can find themselves exposed to noise. The noise can be that of the crowd, or by any instruments used by the crowd. Whistles have long been a popular way of expressing emotions during a match. Also, following the South African 2010 FIFA World Cup, we had, and still occasionally have increased use of an African instrument, called vuvuzela, during sporting events. If you are a really passionate supporter and you spend a lot of time following your team during each season, you may have to pay attention to your hearing.
Protecting your hearing in everyday situations is as important as protecting it at work. If you are afraid you will look silly wearing ear muffs on certain occasions, you can try using custom-made earplugs. They are more discrete, and the custom-made version will get the maximum noise-cancellation effect out of their design.