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Hearing management

Updated 02 January 2018

5 ways to protect your hearing this New Year’s Eve

Between concerts and pool parties, your hearing may suffer the most this festive season. Here's how to protect your hearing.

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Hearing loss is no longer a trait of old age. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 years of age are at risk of hearing loss.

The WHO says this is due to exposure to loud noise in recreational environments.

New Year’s Eve gatherings are often hubs of loud noise – here are five ways to protect your hearing during the celebrations.

1. Wear earplugs

According to Dangerous Decibels, a music concert can generate more than 110 decibels (dB) which is almost twice the amount generated during a conversation.

Exposure to loud music can damage your hearing within two minutes. If you find yourself at a music concert this New Year's Eve, use earplugs to protect your hearing and prevent ringing ears long after the concert has ended.

2. Take short breaks

The countdown to New Year’s Day only lasts about an hour but the loud conversations may leave your ears feeling irritated.

While normal conversations take place at around 60dB, group conversations can be louder at 70dB.

At parties, group conversations can generate more than 85dB of noise, which is the daily recommended safe level. Should conversations become louder, you may be exposing your ears to harmful noise levels. 

Save your hearing by moving to a quieter spot to give your ears a much-needed break.

3. Keep your ears dry

swimming

Planning on having an afternoon swim before hitting the town in the evening?

Invest in some swimmer’s earplugs to prevent swimmer’s ear (otitis externa), which can cause temporary hearing loss. Swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria found in lakes and oceans enters the ear canal leading to pain.

Swimming earplugs and thorough drying of the ear can prevent this painful ear infection.

4. Lower the music

Playing some party jams on the way to a New Year's Eve braai may be a great way to get you into the festive mood. But make sure you protect your ears and avoid listening to music at more than 60% of the volume.

Similar to being at a concert, loud music in your car or earphones can cause permanent hearing loss.

5. Avoid fireworks

fireworks, hearing

While fireworks may be one of the best parts of New Year's Eve celebrations, they can damage your ears.

Fireworks generate between 150dB to 175dB of noise – an airplane produces as much noise as 150dB on take off. Don't want to miss the show? Then find spot that is at least 15 to 20 metres from the fireworks.

If you prefer to be up close, pop some earplugs in to protect your hearing. 

Image credits: iStock

 

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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