Protect hearing while cheering

Protect hearing while cheering
Protect hearing while cheering. (Source: MGN Online)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's going to be a late night for a lot of us with the Cavs tipping off at nine. It will certainly take a toll on us come tomorrow. But there's something we should be a little extra concerned about when it comes to all the cheering -- our hearing.

The noise is a big part of the excitement, some say it even adds to the fun.

With that, Cleveland Clinic audiologist, Dr. Sharon Sandridge, says use the tools you have to measure the noise around you when you are watching in a crowd environment.

"I always recommend that with smartphones you can download all kinds of sound level meter apps, for free, for a couple bucks, just get one and then you can test an environment to see if you are safe or not," said Dr. Sandridge.

She goes on that it's so important to be aware of the noise surrounding us, even if it's noise that's all in good fun.

Research shows it only takes one instance of loud noise exposure to damage the cells within our ears for good. We begin to start running a risk for permanent hearing damage once we've reached a level of 85 dBA for eight hours or more. That would be about the equivalent of the sound of a vacuum cleaner or a food blender.

The primary sign of ear damage, a ringing in the ears, called tinnitus. While most work-related noise, like construction, is well-regulated, recreational noise is not.

The doctor recommends taking a break from the noise every now and then – if you're in an arena like the Q, maybe escape to a concourse, where you can still watch the action, but it's not as loud.

The louder the sound is, the less time that you can be in it safely.

"We just have to be more aware of the noise around us," the doctor adds, "it's around us all the time and we get very used to it, as if you live on a busy street, then traffic noise means nothing to you. If you live next to a railroad station, the trains mean nothing to you. The reality is, every single second we're exposed to noise, can indeed do damage." 

She suggests foamy ear plugs as a good option. When you know you're going to be in a noisy situation, they can reduce noise to a safe level without turning it down too much.

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