Safeguard Your Hearing During Noisy Summer Activities

Large summer concert crowd of people in front of a stage at night who should be concerned about hearing protection

Summertime has some activities that are just staples: Air shows, concerts, fireworks, state fairs, Nascar races, etc. As more of these activities go back to something like normal, the crowds, and the noise levels, are growing.

And that can be a problem. Let’s face it: you’ve had ringing in your ears after attending a concert before. This ringing, known as tinnitus, can be an indication that you’ve sustained hearing damage. And as you continue to expose your ears to these loud sounds, you continue to do additional permanent damage to your hearing.

But don’t worry. If you use reliable ear protection, all of these summer activities can be safely enjoyed.

How to know your hearing is hurting

So how much attention should you be putting on your ears when you’re at that concert or air show?
Because you’ll be pretty distracted, understandably.

You should watch for the following symptoms if you want to avoid serious damage:

  • Headache: In general, a headache is a good indication that something is wrong. And when you’re trying to gauge hearing damage this is even more relevant. Too many decibels can trigger a pounding headache. If you find yourself in this scenario, seek a less noisy setting.
  • Tinnitus: This is a ringing or buzzing in your ears. It’s an indication that damage is occurring. You shouldn’t automatically dismiss tinnitus simply because it’s a fairly common condition.
  • Dizziness: Your sense of balance is primarily controlled by your inner ear. Dizziness is another indication that damage has taken place, especially if it’s accompanied by a change in volume. So if you’re at one of these noisy events and you feel dizzy you may have injured your ears.

Obviously, this list isn’t complete. There are little hairs inside of your ears which are responsible for picking up vibrations in the air and overly loud sounds can damage these hairs. And once these tiny hairs are damaged, they never heal or grow back. They’re that specialized and that delicate.

And it’s not like you’ve ever heard anyone say, “Ow, the little hairs in my ear hurt”. So watching for secondary symptoms will be the only way you can detect if you’re developing hearing loss.

It’s also possible for damage to happen with no symptoms at all. Any exposure to loud noise will result in damage. And the damage will get worse the longer the exposure continues.

When you do detect symptoms, what should I do?

You’re getting your best groove on (and everyone is loving it), but then, you begin to feel dizzy and your ears start to ring. What should you do? How many decibels is too loud? And are you in the danger zone? How should you know how loud 100 decibels is?

Here are some options that have different levels of effectiveness:

  • You can get out of the venue: If you really want to protect your ears, this is truthfully your best option. But it may also put an end to your fun. So if your symptoms are serious, consider leaving, but we understand if you’d rather find a way to safeguard your hearing and enjoy the show.
  • Keep a set of cheap earplugs with you: Cheap earplugs are, well, cheap. They aren’t the best hearing protection in the world, but they’re somewhat effective for what they are. So there’s no reason not to have a set in your glove box, purse, or wherever. That way, if things get a bit too loud, you can simply pop in these puppies.
  • Put a little distance between you and the origin of noise: If you experience any ear pain, distance yourself from the speakers. Essentially, move further away from the source of the noise. You can give your ears a rest while still enjoying yourself, but you might have to let go of your front row NASCAR seats.
  • Find the merch booth: Some venues will sell disposable earplugs. Go to the merch booth for earplugs if you can’t find anything else. Your hearing health is essential so the few bucks you pay will be well worth it.
  • Block your ears with, well, anything: The goal is to safeguard your ears when things are loudest. Try using something around you to cover your ears if you don’t have earplugs and the high volume abruptly takes you by surprise. It won’t be the most effective way to reduce the sound, but it will be better than nothing.

Are there any other methods that are more effective?

So when you need to safeguard your ears for a short time period at a concert, disposable earplugs will be fine. But if you work in your garage daily restoring your old Chevelle with power tools, or if you have season tickets to your favorite football team or NASCAR, or you go to concerts a lot, it’s not the same.

You will want to use a bit more advanced methods in these situations. Those measures could include the following:

  • Talk to us today: We can perform a hearing test so that you’ll know where your hearing levels are right now. And when you have a recorded baseline, it will be easier to notice and note any damage. You will also get the added benefit of our personalized advice to help you keep your hearing safe.
  • Wear professional or prescription level ear protection. This may include custom earplugs or over-the-ear headphones. The level of protection improves with a better fit. You can always take these with you and put them in when the need arises.
  • Use a volume monitoring app: Ambient noise is usually monitored by your smartphone automatically, but you can also get an app that can do that. When noise becomes too loud, these apps will sound an alert. Monitor your own portable decibel meter to ensure you’re safeguarding your ears. Using this method, the exact decibel level that will damage your ears will be obvious.

Have your cake and hear it, too

Okay, it’s a bit of a mixed metaphor, but the point holds: you can safeguard your hearing and enjoy all these fabulous outdoor summer events. You will enjoy those activities safely by taking a few simple steps. And that’s true with anything, even your headphones. Understanding how loud is too loud for headphones can help you make better decisions about your hearing health.

Because if you really enjoy going to see an airshow or a NASCAR race or an outdoor summer concert, chances are, you’re going to want to keep doing that as the years go on. If you’re not sensible now you might end up losing your hearing and also your summer fun.



The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.