According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “An estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years (approximately 5.2 million) and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years (approximately 26 million) have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.” Some of this exposure to noise may even be from power tools for doing yard work, which can easily exceed the level that is considered safe. Below we review how to protect your hearing while doing yard work.
Wear Hearing Protection
When you’re operating power tools like a leaf blower or lawn mower, it is essential that you wear hearing protection. This can take many forms, from disposable foam or silicone earplugs from the drugstore to earmuffs from a big box store, the internet or custom-fit protection from The ENT Center of Central Georgia. Some earplugs even allow safe sounds through, like your spouse or children talking to you, while blocking dangerously loud sounds.
Many people enjoy listening to music through headphones or earbuds while doing yard work, but this can be really dangerous for your hearing, especially when operating power tools. This is because you have to crank up the volume much louder than you normally would to hear your music over the sound of the tool.
It’s important to take breaks from yard work, especially when you’re operating loud tools, to give your ears a chance to recover. So instead of mowing your whole yard at once, mow the front, take a lunch break, then mow the back. Or, if you have to blow leaves and mow, do one chore on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Switch to Electric Power Tools
Gas power tools are all much louder than electric ones. If your tools are getting old and you need to invest in new ones, we recommend making the switch to lower-decibel models. This is better for both your ears and the environment.
For more information about how to keep your ears safe from hearing loss when doing yard work or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert to be fitted with custom hearing protection, call The ENT Center of Central Georgia today.